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WINTER 1995 






Cv2ai C2hSA 








First Word 

By David Darling 





By Paul Kvinta 



By Janel Slites 



By Steve Nadis 



By A. J. S. Rayl 



By Steve Nadjs 



by Jeffrey Zygmont 


Electronic Universe 

By Gregg Keizer 




Project Open Book 

Reports of 
mass abduclions by 

aliens, one 

abductee's terrifying 

tale, and 

Part 3 of Omni's 


Investigator's Guide 


As the next millennium nears, Dmn; seeks answers to 

tomorrow's questions: What new technologies 
will excite us? Who will own tlie riglnts to our intellectual 

properties? Wfio will own the rights to our pasts? 
Cover art by Braldt Braids. Additional art credits page 85. 


ReBuryingthe Past 

By Roben K J Killheffer 


Wtiose Ideas are 

They Anyway? 

Linda Marsa 


Battelle's Best 


By Bennett Daviss 


Fiction: Olders 

By Ursula K. LeGutn 


Fiction: CHROMO 

By Ernie Colon and 

A J Gamble 


Fiction: Feigenbaum 


By Nancy Kress 



WhiHield Diffie 

By Thomas Bass 


Fiction: Radio Waves 

By Michael Swanwick 



James Turrell 

Vicki Lindner 



By Scot Morris 


Ust Word 

By Christopher Kelley 

Printed in U.S.A. 

Canadian GST Registration #R126607589 


Reconciling science and the afterlife 

By David Darling 

Tb understand the 
soul, death, 

and tlie possibility 
of an after- 

llle. David Oarling 
believes we 

must look at the 

IMe lor granted. 

Is death the end — or a new be- 
ginning? Can we even make 
progress toward findirig an 
answer? My belief is that we can, 
but only if we are prepared to 
challenge two basic "facts" 
about the world which have long 
been held m the West to be in- 

The first of these is that the self 
is real. As Descartes 
put it; "I think, there- 
fore I am," But what 
if Descartes were 
wrong? Increasingly, 
neurologists are 
coming to the con- 
clusion that there is 
no "Cartesian ob- 
server" in the brain, 
no central overseer 
that can be identi- 
fied with "you" or "I." 
Instead, what we 
imagine and feel to 
be the self stems from activity 
spread all over the cortex. Fur- 
ther evidence for this is that 
damage to part of the brain, 
through accident or disease, 
often results in a permanent 
change to the person we once 
believed ourselves to be. 

It is a difficult pill to swallow. 
But swallow it we must if we are 
to grow in our understanding of 
the significance of death. Self is 
no more than an illusion conjured 
up, initially as a survival ploy 
during our species' evolution 
and, more recently, brought into 
sharper relief by the way we are 
raised in our materialistic culture 
and society 

To begin to change our atti- 
tude toward death, and to better 
appreciate our relationship to the 
universe, we need to stop han- 
kering for what can never be re- 
alized — our personal immortality 
When the brain dies, so too does 
the self, along with our personal- 
ity and memories, It is no coinci- 
dence that all major religions. 

Eastern and Western, stress the 
overarching importance of acting 
"selflessly" during life. They like 
contemporary brain science, rec- 
ognize that the self is ephemeral 
and insubstantial, that thiere is no 
personal soul, no hope of the in- 
dividual, as such, continuing in 
some cozy afterlife. 

Yet a s not ost, I mentioned 
that there were two 
farts that we need to 
a lenge if we are 
progress in our 
rderstanding of the 
/stery ot death and 
e afterlife. The sec- 
d "fact" that is 
taken for granted in 
our culture is the as- 
sumption that con- 
sciousness is pro- 
duced by the brain. 

According to 
mainstream opinion, 
matter, over billions of years, or- 
ganized itself into more and more 
ornate forms until, eventually, it 
achieved sufficient complexity to 
give rise to consciousness. 
Working under this assumption, a 
growing number of scientists are 
now busily rummaging around in 
the brain trying to explain how 
the trick of consciousness is 
done. Researchers of the stature 
of Francis Crick, Daniel Dennett, 
Gerald Edelman, and Roger Pen- 
rose have recently come forward 
with a range of ingenious theo- 
ries. All purport to explain, in one 
way or another, consciousness 
as an epiphenomenon of physi- 
cal and chemical processes tak- 
ing place in the brain— and all 
fail utterly They fail not because 
their models are insufficiently ac- 
curate or detailed, but because 
they are trying to do what is, from 
the outset, impossible. 

The truth is that no account of 
what goes on at the mechanistic 
level of the brain can shed any 
light whatsoever on why con- 

sciousness exists. No theory can 
explain why the brain shouldn't 
work exactly as it does, yet with- 
out giving rise to the feeling we 
all have of "what it is like to be." 
And there is, 1 believe, a very 
simple reason for this. The brain 
does not produce consciousness 
at all, any more than a television 
set creates the programs that 
appear on its screen, On the 
contrary, the brain filters and re- 
stricts consciousness, just as our 
senses limit the totality of experi- 
ence to which we might other- 
wise have access. 

Again, this is no revolutionary 
new insight— late though it may be 
in coming to the attention of sci- 
ence. The idea that mind is a fun- 
damental, all-pervasive property 
of the universe lies at the heart of 
mystical traditions stretching 
back over 2,000 years. Nor is the 
direct experience of what, for 
want of a better term, we might 
call "cosmic consciousness" re- 
stricted to meditating monks and 
purveyors of New Age therapies. 
It comes in flashes to many ordi- 
nary folk. And it comes, most 
telling, to people during near- 
death experiences at the very 
time when brain activity has vir- 
tually ceased. If the brain really 
were responsible for conscious- 
ness, why should consciousness 
be found to expand so dramati- 
cally at the point when the brain 
has all but slopped working? 

Soon, perhaps, human inquiry 
will broaden to allow a concerted 
exploration of the undiscovered 
land that lies beyond death. Then 
we may arrive at a true Theory of 
Everything, one that satisfies the 
spirit as well as the intettect.DQ 

David Darling's most recent 
book, Soul Search (Vitlard 
Books, March 1995), explores 

the Intellectual, scientific, arid 
philosophical implications of 
defining the soul. 




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(eolnvohility ' HollywoDHdioq, Editioq. 5 
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Focusing on fiction, searching for tfie truth about UFOs, 

and tuning in to amateur radio 


HalHalpnef VPD ti 

(Sf F( K> &p liucccos Jane ftar 3!h 

First Things First 

I would like to say how happy I am to see 
Omni back in publication. Your thor- 
ough and scholarly approach to certain 
issues always keeps me eagerly await- 
ing the next issue, I was pteased to see 
that your First Word column concerned 
UFO research. While I agree with Mr. 
Benford that serious scientific study is 
needed m this field, I lake issue with his 
slalemeni that "no solid, physical, gen- 
erally agreed upon evidence" exists. 
Countless individuals, including high 
ranking government and military officials, 
have gone on record claiming that hard 
evidence has been found and studied. 
But since officially everything is denied 
or debunked, it continues to remain the 
greatest modern mystery We may be 
frustrated by the infighting among UFO 
researchers, but we can hardly blame 
them for seeking substance in the 
Roswells that are out there. 

Brian Inthof 

Kitchener, ON 


Fiction Flattery 

S. N. Dyer's "Resolve and Resistance," 
[April 1995] was a marvelous blend of 
history and science fiction. Pure joy 
from start to finish. 

Lynda Maroney 
Port Huron, Ml 

Seek and Ye Shall Find 
"The Truth about Roswell" brought some 
strong thoughts to mind. It has become 
routine for the government and the mil- 
itary to cover up events. This causes 
conspiracies to sphng up. It they were 
more open and truthful, we might trust 
our government officials more, and not 
expect a lie around every corner. 

Joshua Boisvert 
Dauphin. PA 

The truth is out there, we just need to 
know where to look. Places like libraries 
and newsrooms offer a certain degree 
of help, but those places are all censored. 
What UFOIogists need is a forum where 
anything can be said without fear. 
Omni Online is as close as we come to 
that. What it all boils down to is you 
can't get all your information from other 
places. You have to search the skies 

late at night with a camera and binocu- 
lars, hoping for anything that might 
bring you one step closer to the truth. 
The truth is out there — you just have to 
know where to look, 

Jonathan Craig 

Bowling Green. KY 

AOL: Jon Vision 

Hamming it Up 

I think the ham radio articie [Sounds, 
April 1995] was well written. As a re- 
cently licensed ham, it is interesting to 
find out just what all you can do with 
radio, I would encourage more people 
to explore ham radio, and feel that they 
like myself, will become fascinated. It is 
a truly enriching hobby that can be a 
tremendous help to fellow humans, 

Neil Wallers 

Lavaca, AR 

AOL: BlueWonder 

As an amateur radio operator, I found 
this column very enlightening, it did 
justice to the hobby and I'm glad you 
shared with your readers an informa- 
tive view of amateur radio. If I had any 
criticism it would be about the informa- 
tion on repeaters. The articie did not 
specifically point out that repeaters are 
not unique to amateur radio, but are 
found in police and business radio sys- 
tems. This is an insignificant point that 
I, an avid repeater user, wanted to 
bring up. It's great that the column cov- 
ered this aspect of operation, because 
most people who've heard of amateur 
radio know nothing about repeaters 
and the mobility of amateur communi- 
cations. Good job! 

Adrian Pritchett 
Gray, GAOO 

Some writers break through the page, 
making the reader feel their enthusi- 
asm, share their experience and 
insight, learn the lessons they have 
to teach. Sharon McAuliffe was that 
sort of writer. We were proud of 
every word she published in Omni 
and elsewhere. We wish there had 
been more. Sharon died in late sum- 
mer, 1995. We miss her. and will 
miss her, as will everyone who knew 
her or read her work. 



A new verdict for an ancient mystery 

By Paul Kvinta 

These tiny 
spheres may hold 

the key to 
Ihe events which 

wiped out 

Two hundred and fifty 
million years ago, the 
teeming plankton of the 
earth's oceans mysteriously 
began to vanish, the die-off 
quickly spread up the food chain: 
Corals and clams disappeared, 
then snails and starfish, followed 
by varieties of squid and octo- 
pus, and soon whole schools of 
fish simply expired. Ultimately, as 
the earth concluded the Permian 
period and began the Triassic. 
96 percent of alt marine species 
became extinct. 

"It was Ihe mother of all ex- 
tinctions." says geochemist Kun 
Wang, noting that the dte-off 
dwarfs all others in the planet's 
history, including the more cele- 
brated extinction of the dinosaurs 
65 million years ago, Paleontolo- 

geochemical approach to produce 
some compelling evidence that 
the die-off happened suddenly 

Wang's team located a sec- 
lion of ancient rocK that once lay 
at the bottom of Williston Lake in 
northeastern British Columbia. 
Inside the rock they found a rare 
sample of well-preserved organic 
carbon called kerogen, which 
forms when plankton drifts to the 
basin floor and becomes incor- 
porated into sedimentary rock. 
When Wang analyzed the kero- 
gen with a mass spectrometer, 
he discovered an abrupt de- 
crease in the number of cartx)n-13 
atoms right at the border betv/een 
the Permian and Triassic periods. 

To make sense of the drop, 
the researchers considered pho- 
tosynthesis. Carbon is composed 

caused the crisis? Wang says 
the die-off could be linl<ed to the 
heavy volcanic activity that was 
occurring at roughly the same 
time in Siberia, where constant 
eruptions produced basalt out- 
pourings about the size of 
Aiasio, But a more likely sce- 
nario, according to Wang, is that 
a meteor smashed into Earth 
and created a huge crater. All of 
the displaced dust would have 
blocked sunlight for several 
weeks and severely limited pho- 
tosynthesis. "It could have been 
a meteor like the one that ]ust hit 
Jupiter," Wang says. "If we had 
that kind of impact, it would have 
killed off a lot of life." 

But Douglas Erwin, a paleon- 
tologist at the Smithsonian Insti- 
tution and an expert on the Per- 


96 percent o( all 

marine IHe al 

Ihe bealnnlng ot 

the Triassic era. 

gists have long hypothesized 
that the extinction of marine life 
unfolded gradually and quietly 
over several million years. But now 
Wang, a researcher at the Uni- 
versity of Ottawa, is bucking that 
conventional wisdom. 

"It was a sudden change, not 
a gradual change," he contends, 
"At most it took a few thousand 
years, but it could have been 

Scientists first discovered the 
Permian-Triassic extinction in the 
1950s, but since then, incomplete 
fossil records have kept paleon- 
tologists from determining the 
abruptness or duration of the ex- 
tinction. Wang, in contrast, used a 

of two Isotopes: carbon-12 and 
carbon-13. During photosynthe- 
sis, phyloplankton compete for 
their preferred isotope, the car- 
bon-12. But since competition for 
this isotope IS typically intense, 
the plants usually settle for some 
carbon-13 as well. If the compe- 
tition for the carbon-12 suddenly 
thinned, the surviving phyto- 
plankton would absorb only car- 
bon-12 and pass on carbon-13 
altogether Wang concludes that 
the abrupt drop in the carbon-13 
content of phyloplankton at the 
Permian-Triassic boundary means 
that a massive extinction took 
place, and it happened quickly 
The question now is, what 

mian-Thassic extinction, maintains 
that the die-off occurred over a 
significant period of time, possi- 
bly as long as three million years, 
"We just don't have any direct 
data on a time frame for the ex- 
tinction at this point," Erwin says. 
Wang, however, may be on 
the verge of collecting just the 
evidence he needs to prove this 
theory He is currently investigat- 
ing clay samples which may con- 
tain tiny spheres of microtektites, 
or pieces of rock that would have 
suddenly melted and splashed 
into the clay Significantly for 
Wang, it is a condition that could 
only have been caused by me- 
teor impact.DQ 


■ » '•-^. ' 


''Space: Enhanclf^^Cife on Earth'' 
The 12th National Space Symposium 

April 9-12, 1996 
Broadmoor Hotel, Colorado Springs, Colorado 

The United States Space Foundation is bringing the National Space 

Symposium down to Earth this year, with a focus on how space endeavor; 

improve things right here at home. Space leaders and visionaries from 

around the world will again gather at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado 

" ' - . - ■■ . . jg j^ space, and how our efforts 

continue to benefit people across the globe in very real ways. 

To register, call 1.800.691.4000 or 719.576.8000 or write to: 

United States Space Foundation 

2860 South Circle Drive. Suite 230 1 

Colorado Springs, Co. 80906 


A new look at some familiar faces 

By Janet Stites 

Taking tlieir 

cue Iron) ArisloUe 

and Sir Philip 

Sidney, science 


are finding new 

ways to 

both instruct and 


Theoretical physicist 
Richard Feynman died 
of cancer at the age of 
70 in 1988, but his voice lives on. 
For thai matter, so do his jokes. 
Addison-Wesley Publishing 
Company has recently released 
a condensed version of The 
Feynman Lectures on Physics ti- 
tled Six Easy Pieces: Essentials 
of Physics Explained by Its Most 
Brilliant Teacher. But the tradition- 
ally conservative publishing 
house didn't stop with the print 
version. Accompanying the text 
is an audio version that allows 
the listener to get a sense of 
what it must have been like to be 
one of Feynman's young stu- 
dents in the early Sixties. 

From 1961 to 1963, Richard 
Feynman taught the freshman 
physics course at California Insti- 
tute of Technology Because of 
Feynman's reputation as a 
prankster and congenial show- 
man, and because the "Genius," 
as he's become known, rarely 
taught classes, the course has 
become a pari of 
physics folklore and 
IS a great source of 
pride for Caltech. To 
grve it even more 
weight, the series cul- 
iinated in a three- 
olume book The 
Feynman Lectures on 
Physics, which has 
become standard 
reading for budding 

The staff of 


^ Wesley had 

the inspi- 

project after a former 
Caltech doctoral stu- 
dent told them that the 
university still had 150 
tapes from the lecture 
series in its archives 
"We had always as- 
sumed thai the tapes 
had been destroyed," 
says Jack Repcheck, 
a former Addison-Wes- 
ley editor, who is now 
an editor at Princeton 
University Press 
"When we found that 
was not the case, we 
wanted to give people 
a taste of them." 

The entertainer 
Feynman seems a good 
study for a project 
combining science and the CD- 
ROM industry. Roberi Biewen, 
president of W, H. Freeman Pub- 
lishing advocates the use of CD- 
ROM in science. "CD-ROM and 
science make sense when you 
are able to show something that 
IS important to a concept or 
idea," he says, 

Biewen, who is encouraging 
his editors to look for books 
which would translate well to CD- 

ing to Biewen, the CDs 
offer on-screen tutorials 
and projection capabil- 
ities that can be used 
to instruct an entire 
class Biewen explains 
that while the CD- 
ROIVls are expensive to 
develop, the process 
and final product are 

The attributes of 
mixing multimedia and 
science are certainly 
not lost on CD-ROM 
publisher Voyager. The 
f>Jew York-based com- 
pany has published a 
series of science discs 
called "First Person," in 
which users have the 
opportunity to hear scientists 
"think out loud," Indeed, Marvin 
Minsky invites the user into his 
own living room and. using video 
and graphics, leads the student 
through the text of "The Society 
of Mind." On his CD titled "On 
Evolution," Stephen Jay Gould 
helps the user hunt for a 
to such riddles as "Who v 
naturalist on board the E 
and 'Why didn't Danwin use the 

We are targeting books which we think 

can communicate better through 
the power of CD-ROM and moving objects. 

ROM, says the company doesn't 
plan to simply repeat a book on 
CD-ROM, but complement it, 
"We're targeting books which we 
think can communicate better 
through the power of CD-ROM 
and moving objects," he says, 
"to do things that are impossible 
on the static, printed page." 
Freeman's Stephen J. Hawk- 
ings's A Bnel History of Time 
CD-ROM is the company's first 
consumer-oriented science disc. 
W- H. Freeman has already 
published a number of CD-ROMs 
for its textbook division. Accord- 

word 'evolution'?" Donald Nor- 
man acts as a video host for his 
CD "Defending Human Attributes 
in the Age of the Machine." 

Its clear from these CDs that 
fans of science have much to 
gain as publishers explore the 
potential of the technology, as 
science writers begin to write 
with the medium in mind, and as 
scientists move beyond the 
blackboards and the liooks and 
come out of the laboratories. DO 

Please visit our Worfd Wide Web ^te 

NEW empires/ f 

POWiRS or 


T!M€ ©AT 






Can psychopaths feel emotions? 

By Steve Nadis 

Most people are 


when they view 


scenes. But psy- 


appear to react 

tn the same 

way to a plate or 

toed as la a 

muitiateil body. 

Human conduct, though 
often mystifying, is 
never so perplexing as 
in tiie case of the pure psy- 
chopath — a "cold-blooded" per- 
son who instinctively resorts to 
lying, cheating, stealing, and 
perhaps murder without a trace 
of remorse. How can one in 
100 people, by some esti- 
mates, turn out this way, inca- 
pable of experiencing normal 
emotions, incapable of feeling 
love or compassion for oth- 
ers—traits considered the 
essence of humanity? The an- 
swer may lie in faulty mental 
wiring Numerous experi- 
ments show psychopaths 
have different physiological 
responses to stimuli from nor- 
mals and also employ differ- 
ent mental processes while 
performing simple tasks, 

For more than 25 years, 
University of British Columbia 
psychophysiologist Robert 
Hare, author of Without Con- 
science, has been probing 
the minds of psychopaths. In 
experiments in the Sixties, he 
and his colleagues measured 
the responses of psychopaths 
and normal subjects prior to ad- 
ministering mild electric shocks. 
Unlike the normals, the psy- 
chopaths showed no anticipatory 
anxiety (measured in terms of 
sweaty palms) before the 
shocks. "They weren't apprehen- 
sive at all," Hare says. "One 
might infer that threats of punish- 
ment have little effect — some- 
thing that seems to be true in the 
real world as well," 

Like many other research 
psychologists. Sven Christianson 
at the University of Stockholm 
believes conventional emotional 
constructs don't appiy to psy- 
chopaths. In a study with Hare, 
Adelle Forth of Carleton University 
and others, Christianson showed 
participants 15 color slides and 

later tested their memory of the 
scenes. The eighth slide appeared 
in two versions: one showed a 
woman riding a bicycle in front of 
two cars; the other, the same 
woman lying beside the bicycle 
with blood oo2ing from her head, 
the same two cars in the back- 

ground. Normal subjects remem- 
bered the emotional slide more 
vividly and paid more attention 
to more central rather than pe- 
ripheral details. Psychopaths did 
not show the same focus and so 
didn't remember one slide better 
ihan the other. "Since the psy- 
chopath feels nothing for the 
woman immersed in blood, he 
doesn't find the image notewor- 
thy," Christianson says. 

Another study by Hare and his 
group points to similar emotional 
deficits. In a "lexical decision" task, 
subjects were presented a string 
of letters and asked if it were a 
word or not. Response times and 
brain waves were measured. 
Nonpsychopaths identified emo- 
tionally charged words like "can- 
cer" or "rape" more quickly than 
neutral words like "tree" or 
"plate. " And iheir EEG responses 

to the emotional words were larger 
and more prolonged, "When you 
see the letters c-a-n-c-e-r," says 
Hare, "you say 'Yes, that's a word,' 
but you also conjure up images, 
make associations," Psychopaths 
don't do that. Whether the word 
is "paper" or 'murder," their re- 
sponse times and EEG pat- 
terns do not differ 

At the Bronx VA Medical 
Center, assistant chief of psy- 
chiatry Joanne Intrator and 
her colleagues used a SPECT 
imaging machine to measure 
blood flow in the brains of 
both psychopath substance 
abusers, nonpsychopath sub- 
stance abusers, and control 
subjects who were asked to 
perform a word-identification 
task. Psychopaths used a dif- 
ferent strategy to Identify 
emotional words compared to 
the other groups, "This and 
other studies suggest that 
□ sychopaths process and 
use language and emotion in 
a very 'superficial' manner," 
says Hare, a collaborator. 
Control subjects showed coordi- 
nated activity In the frontal cor- 
tex, temporal lobes, and 
amygdala, areas thought to play 
a role in the integration of thoughts 
and feelings, "We seem to be 
targeting the same areas other 
researchers think may be impor- 
tant for the development of a 
moral sense and conscience," 
Hare adds 

Hare and his colleagues are 
conducting MRI studies to deter- 
mine whether the anomalies in 
mental processing are due to un- 
derlying structural or functional 
problems. "New techniques from 
cognitive neuroscience are 
opening a window into what's 
going on here," Hare says. "It 
looks like there might be a neuro- 
physiological basis for this cold- 
blooded, predatory behavior that 
has baffled us for so long,"00 



Musical links for scientists and mathematicians of tomorrow 

By A, J. S, Rayl 

advises parents 
wttti their kids, 
and invesi 
In piano lessons 
or a musi- 
cal heytioanl. 

I J% I hen all is said and 
III I sung, kiddie pop— 
%m %^ from Barney's "I Love 
You" lo old standards like "Twin- 
kle, Twinkle, LiHIe Star"— may be 
brain food for the scientists and 
mathematicians of tomorrow. If. 
thai is, the preschool children lis- 
tening sing along and take up 
keyboard lessons. 

According to a recently pub- 
lished study from the University 
of California-Irvine, preschoolers 
who participate in keyboard in- 
struction and group singing dra- 
matically enhance the intelli- 
gence network required for high- 
level math and science. Basically 
these musical activities appear 
lo strengthen links between brain 
neurons, building neural bridges 
used for spatial reasoning, says 
co-investigator, psychologist 
Frances H. Rauscher, formerly of 
the university's Center for Neuro- 
biology of Learning and Memory 

This and other studies now 
underway emanated from earlier 
work of co-investigator, physicist 
Gordon L. Shaw, UC-lrvine, Shaw 
and former graduate student. 
Xiaodan Leng, created a neuronal 

L.A. County preschools. Nine- 
teen were provided with eight 
months of weekly keyboard in- 
struction and daily group singing 
sessions; 14 did not receive any 
musical training. 

In the 30-minute, daily singing 
sessions, the preschoolers chor- 
tled a variety of songs, from new 
hits to classic favorites. For the 
keyboard instruction, Eric L Wright 
of the Irvine Conservatory traded 

Music is a very powerful tool whicfi can 

be used to ensure every child reaches 

his or her potential in math and science. 

model of the cortex. This model 
proposed thai musical activity and 
higher cognitive functions share 
inherent neural firing patterns 
which are organized in a highly 
structured, spatial-temporal code 
covering large cortical regions. 

While neuroscienlists have yet 
to really look at the brain on a 
micro level, they can observe pat- 
terns. Still, the only way now to 
determine how certain activities 
influence others within the brain 
is to study the resulting behavior. 

The preschooler study set out 
to do just that. The study involved 
33 youngsters enrolled at two 

in the traditional A-B-C method of 
piano teaching and developed a 
series of mathematically oriented 
keyboard exercises Numbers 
were assigned to fingers — the 
tfiumb being 1, index 2, and so 
on— as well as to the keys — C-1, 
D-2, and so on, "When you look 
at music, it truiy is a mathemati- 
cal production; we wanted to see 
the impact this mathematical ap- 
proach would have," says Wright. 
Rauscher then tested the chil- 
dren's spatial reasoning with a 
series of five tasks, including ob- 
ject assembly and animal pegs 
(assembling cardboard puzzle 

pieces into familiar objects) from 
the Wechsler Preschool and Pri- 
mary Scale of Intelligence Re- 
vised Performance Subtest, and 
"Absurdities" (verbal descrip- 
tions of what is "wrong" or "silly" 
about a given picture) from the 
Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale. 

The results: 17 of the 19 kids 
who received music lessons in- 
creased their spatial-temporal 
IQs by a 46 percent mean. 
Those children who received no 
music lessons only improved by 
a 6 percent mean, which is less 
than expected by chance The 
study further suggests, says 
Rauscher, that other tasks which 
depend upon spatial-temporal 
processes — chess, geometry, 
sculpture, and the computer 
game Telris — will probably also 
be enhanced by music training. 

And even if your child shows 
no signs of becoming the next 
fulozart or Elvis Presley, the ge- 
nius of an Albert Einstein or 
Madame Curie may be hiding 
behind those missed notes or 
sour chords just waiting to burst 
into equations, DO 

Please visit our World Wide Web site 
at hnp:// 


Scientists digitize the sky to reveal its hidden secrets 

By Steve Nadis 

J^% ny theory atlempting to 
#i"^L explain the universe 
m m must rely on a special 
kind of inventory— a comprehen- 
sive survey of the celestial ob- 
jects adorning the heavens, Just 
as a storekeeper regularly re- 
views and refines his inventory, 
astronomers have begun to up- 
date theirs, making new maps of 
the sky in wavelengths ranging 
from radio to x-ray. In 
contrast to traditional 
astronomical surveys, 
which photograph the 
entire sky in numer- 
ous, overlapping seg- 
ments, most of the 
new surveys either in 
progress or planned 
will be digitized: Rather 

Storing astronom- 
ical data 
on pholograptiic 
plales litie 
these may soon 
be obsolete, 
as astronomers 
go iligital. 

than just taking snapshots with 
cameras, astronomers now em- 
ploy advanced detectors that 
measure the amount of light 
reaching us from all parts of the 
sky and then combine that infor- 
mation arithmetically to produce 
detailed images of the stars and 
galaxies distributed above. 

While some astronomers move 
forward with these new surveys, 
others work "backward" in a 
sense, digitizing old-fashioned 
photographs by translating the 
information they contain into a 
string of numbers that can be an- 
alyzed and manipulated by com- 
puters. A team at Maryland's 
space Telescope Science Insti- 
tute {ST Sol) is currently digitiz- 
ing recent pictures of the 
Southern Hemisphere sky taken 
by an Anglo-Australian observa- 

tory, as well as the contents of 
the Second Palomar Obsen/atory 
Sky Survey, a new atlas that in- 
cludes nearly 3.000 photographs 
of the northern sky. (The first 
Palomar survey was completed 
in 1957.) Interestingly, these pic- 
tures are stored on glass plates 
rather than film, because film can 
bend and thus distort the posi- 
tions of celestial objects, The ST 
Scl group expects 
to finish scanning 
both sets of plates 
by 1998 or 1999, 

The ST Scl -Palo- 
mar collaboration 
makes tremendous 
sense to George 
Djorgovski, an as- 
tronomer at the 
California Institute 
of Technology and 
the Palomar Obser- 
vatory. Computer 
technology, he says, 
provides "a way of 
milking the data for 
all it's worth and, in 
fact, more than it 
was worth originally." 
Once digitized, the Palomar 
survey will contain an unprece- 
dented amount of astronomical 
data — three terabytes, enough 
information to fill six million 
books. The project will ultimately 
identify two billion stars and 50 
million galaxies. 

The big challenge comes in 

tronomer formerly at Caltech and 
Palomar, have developed a new 
software program called SKICAT 
that automatically finds and clas- 
sifies sky objects while noting 
their position and brightness. In 
the old days, astronomers spent 
untold hours staring at plates 
through a microscope or magni- 
fying glass, counting little dots 
and charting their position with a 
ruler. SKICAT not only automates 
the process, it also does the job 
more quickly and more accu- 
rately than humans. "Historical 
classification tasks that took 
years can now be done in a mat- 
ter of hours," Weir says, 

ST Scl intends to put the cata- 
log entries online, making them 
accessible to anyone with a 
modem. And after the second 
Palomar photos are completely 
digitized, Djorgovski and fiis col- 
leagues at Caltech plan to digi- 
tize the first Palomar survey By 
comparing recent pictures of the 
sky to those taken years ago, 
astronomers can study transient 
phenomena such as supernova 
bursts, quasars, and variable 
stars "Who knows what was in 
the sky back then?" Fayyad 
muses. The extended time cov- 
erage also permits scientists to 
chart the motions of stars, which 
offer clues about the structure of 
the galaxy. 

Eventually, astronomers hope 
to unearlh secrets lurking in other 

Computer technology provides 

"a way of milking the data for . 

more than it was worth originally." 

trying to process all Ihat informa- 
tion. "In the past, people haven't 
been able to analyze data as fast 
as they can collect it." says 
Usama Fayyad, a computer sci- 
entist at the Jet Propulsion Labo- 
ratory in California, To avoid a 
similar bottleneck. Fayyad, Djor- 
govski, and Nick Weir, an as- 

plate collections scattered around 
the world. "These plates won't 
last forever, especially if exposed 
to air pollution," Lasker warns. 
"We should digitize them now, 
while we still have the chance."OQ 

Please visit our World Wide Web site 



A tour of a high-tech research lab hints at driving's future 

By Jeffrey Zycmont 

and technicians 
laboring at 
Ford's new sci- 
ence factory 
In Dearborn are 
Ihe future— loday. 

The top brass at Ford 
had good reason to 
preen during the pubiic 
dedication of the company's new 
Scientific Research Laboratory, 
held rn Deafborn, Michigan, at 
the end of 1994, The expanded 
lab culminates a $1.2 billion in- 
vestment in R&D facilities thai 
began more than live years ago. 

John McTague, Ford's vice 
president of technical affairs, put 
the expenditure in a business 
perspective. "The rapid develop- 
ment and application of ad- 
vanced technologies are fast 
becoming one of the key com- 
petitive advantages a company 
can have," he said, spinning off 
that old adage, "You have to 
spend money to make money." 

But the payoff from this brand 
of research comes far down the 
foad. only after a particular prod- 
uct or process is perfected to the 
point that dozens or even hun- 
dreds of thousands of them can 
be knocked off flawlessly and in- 
expensively and millions ol car 
owners will find the ideas useful 
enough to purchase. 

Carl Johnson doesn't think car 
plants will employ the liquid com- 

posite molding technique for plas- 
tic body parts much before the 
next century Still, he directs its re- 
search with urgent determination 
to contribute to a motor-scene 
anxious for light, fuel-thrifty cars. 

His task is to discover fast, 
low-cost ways to mold plastic 
around pre-shaped mats of 
glass or carbon reinforcement 
that make the finished pieces at 
least as strong as steel, but up lo 
60 percent lighter. Johnson over- 
sees four technicians in a mater- 
ial-science lab as large as a 
tennis court, stretching upward 
nearly three stories, where it's 
capped by a tangle of catwalk, 
gantry crane, and ductwork: 
large enough lo make a good 
venue tor a chase scene in a 
James Bond flick. The lab is 
packed with retrigeraior-size in- 
dustrial computers, toolchesls, 
wires, hoses, conduits, cables, 
and three big molding machines. 
The largest one, big enough lo 
fill a suburban garage, presses 
out liquid composiie molded 
fenders in trial runs, letting out a 
persistent hiss and whir that's 
punctuated by the occasional 
pneumatic-robolic whoosh of se- 
rious machinery 

Across the building, in the 
chemical engineering depart- 
ment, the labs are smaller, but 
the discovery continues with the 
same earnest anticipation. In the 
atmospheric chemistry lab, Tim 
Wallington has built a 140-liter 
smog chamber to test Ihe envi- 
ronmental impact of new fuels. 
Looking like a seven-foot-long 
glass thermos bottle, the cham- 
ber takes ultrapurified air and 
then mixes in nitrogen monoxide, 
an engine by-product. A cylindri- 
cal band of IJV lights wrapping 
the thermos bottle mimics the 
sun, turning the mixture to nitro- 
gen dioxide — smog. Wallington 
then runs the brew through an 
infrared spectrometer, revealing 

in the catalyst research lab pipe 
gases through reactive com- 
pounds lo find the formulas that 
scrub ihe air cleanest. Four or- 
ange-red, lableiop infernos burn 
in minifurnaces encased in glass 
and fed by a tangle of cables, 
tubes, and cords. 

Of course. Ford isn't alone in 
this type of work. Across town, 
General Ivlotors operates its own 
future-focused R&D lab within the 
GM technical center which is 
housed in a square-mile campus 
configured by the visionary archi- 
tect Eero Saarinen. Honda con- 
ducts R&D in Torrance, Califor- 
nia, Ivlarysville, Ohio, and at its 
home bases m Wako and Tochigi, 
Japan. Virtually every automaker 
pours millions — sometimes bil- 
lions — ot dollars into scientific in- 
quiry Separately, Iheir efforts 
push and pull the companies 
into greater or lesser positions 
within the ever-changing com- 
petitive hierarchy But collec- 
tively the research advances the 
stale of automobility everywhere. 

Accordingly in Ford's catalyst 
research lab. Dr. Haren Gandhi 
swirled 10.5 grams of black liq- 
uid in a beaker to represent the 
pollutants emitted each mile from 
Ihe average automobile of the 
1960s. His pride apparent. Dr. 
Gandhi next held up a small 
cylinder with just a splash of 
black in the bottom. That, he 
said, is the output from a con- 
temporary car. To illustrate Ihe 
eventual output from an ullra- 
low-emission vehicle, he let a tiny 
drop fall from a glass pipette. 

"Being pan of that improve- 
ment," said Dr Gandhi, who 
joined Ford research in 1967 and 
who now manages the chemical 
engineering labs, "even in a 
small way — you can't help but 
feel good about your work and 
how it helps society "DO 


Doom, and Descent, and Star Trek . 

By Gregg Keizer 

. oh my! 

Firsl-person science-fic- 
tion action games are 
bad for your health. They 
l<eep you up all nighl in front of 
the computer or TV, run up your 
phone bill when you make the 
leap to multiplayer mode, and 
crank up your virtual violence 
level to that of a digital Ted 
Bundy But hey, they're fun, right? 

Doom, which started the whole 
mess, begat a legion of in-your- 
face games. Not surprising, for 
they're as visceral as gaming gets, 
in or out of the house. With claus- 
trophobic sets, threatening situa- 
tions and enemies, limited re- 
sources, and above all, a view that 
puts you in the shooter's seat. 
Doom and Its ilk break sweat 
faster than any other kind of game. 

Doom and the 
next-of-kin Doom II: 
Hell on Earth (\6 Soft- 
ware/GT Interactive) 
are the best places 
lo start. You're a 
space marine wan- 
dering through a 
Ivlars moon station 
{Doom) or a cav- 
ernous Earih-based 
locale (Doom II). 
armed to the teeth 
and lookin' for trou- 
ble. A cast of bad 
things fills your sights, 
from zombieNke hu- 
mans to grotesque demons, but 
a few rounds from a shotgun or 
plasma rifle and they're toast. 
The plot is simple: Survive long 
enough to get to the next level. 
Play on a network or across phone 
lines via modem, and these 
games feel like you're a character 
in Aliens. If you have a Sega 32X 
system, you can also play Sega's 
version of Doom in front of the TV. 

Compared to Doom, Inter- 
play's Descent drops you into 
freefall. That's because you've 
got a full range ol motion both 
honzontally and vertically, without 

any gravity constraints. If you get the Next Step. Mars? CD-ROM 

nauseous on the ferris wheel, from IVI Publishing. Perfect for 

stay away from Descent. You're kids (but filled with enough info 

driving a robotic spaceship to keep most adults interested). 

Plenty of Imperial Stormtroopers 

managed to die in Star Wars, but 
not like this. Dark Forces packs more 

violent behavior in a half-hour sitting than 
you saw in all three movies. 

through corridors, blowing away 
enemy ships, and trying to get to 
the next of 30 levels. The per- 
spective's slick and the freedom 
of movement extraordinary. Still, 
since the threats are machinery, 
not embodied evil, It's tougher to 
get scared by this one. 

Adding the ability to look up 

and down and jump to the first- 
person viewpoint, Dark Forces 
manages to evoke the world of 
LucasArts while slathering on the 
firepower. The corridor mazes 
are complex, the sound effects 
almost overwhelming {this Is on 
CD, so audio is excelient), and 
though it's only single-player, the 
heart-pounding meter is near 
the red zone. 

Mars Needs Women (and 
Kids). Going to Mars would be a 
frighleningly difficult job, but 
learning about the Red Planet Is 
a lot less scary, especially with 

Next Step: Mars? is a gentle, but 
thorough, Martian exploratorium. 
The premise is goofy — you're en- 
listed by an Intergalactic Council 
to research Earth and its plans to 
head to fvlars, then report back 
with your findings — but the inter- 
face is slick, There's the 3-D Vil- 
lage of Knowledge, where rooms 
are filled with objects 
and data. Narrated 
reports, video, text, 
still images, and 
puter activities take 
you from the history 
of our thoughts on 
Mars to future possi- 
bilities of travel. 

On the Internet. If 
the only thing about 
Star Trek: Voyager 
that's scarier than 
Kate Mulgrew's steel 
wool-edged voice is 
the possibility of 
missing an episode, you need to 
hit the Web page ai tittpj/Zvoy- Using an 
interface, you can pull up brief 
summaries of already-aired 
episodes, read short bios of the 
crew (and longer bios of the ac- 
tors), and download audio and 
video clips from the series. It's 
mostly fluff, but it's worth adding 
to your Netscape or Mosaic 
hotlisi when you forget to punch 
Record on your VCR.DQ 

Please visit our World Wide Web site 
at tittp://www.omnl 



Pulling for the NIE. Plus, watching fruitflies copulate, and using 

zebra mussels as water filters 

Establishing a new science instituie? II doesn't sound like 
something the potentates of the new gouernmenta! order 
would approve of Nevertheless, a proposed National 
Institute for the Environment {NIE} is shaping up into 
something both sides of the debate can love: a nonregu- 
laiory, national, granting institution that will streamline 
America's environmental research efforts and ultimately 
result in better, cheaper science policy, 

A Washington, DC-based committee has been lobby- 
ing for Ihe N!E since environmental scientists Henry F. 
Howe and Stephen R Hubbell first proposed the idea back 
in 1989- Today, NIE supporters include Dow Ciiemical, the 
World Wildlife Fund, the National Council of Negro Women, 
and Newt Gingrich. This 
almost inconceivably 
diverse alliance speaks 
to the universally rec- 
ognized need for a sin- 
gle entity; one tf>at will 
distribute data among 
existing environmental 
agencies, fill in crucial 
gaps in research, and 
provide Ihe balanced, 
credible information 
needed by policymak- 
ers to solve environ- 
mental problems before 
they escalate into cost- 
ly crises. In addition, 
plans for the NIE call for 
it to lake responsibility 
for environmental edu- 
cation and data dissemination, providing a mechanism lo 
link working scientists with each other and with the public. 

Legislation to establish the NIE has historically 
enjoyed broad bipartisan support in Congress. Minority 
leader Tom Daschle, a Democrat, is considering Ihe rein- 
troduction of the NIE bill in the Senate, white Republican 
Jim Saxton leads the effort in the House. The current 
administration, however, "does not think creating and 
funding such a new entity is desirable at this time," pre- 
ferring to rely on the already-established Committee on 
Environment and Natural Fiesources (CENR), according 
to statements made by John H. Gibbons, assistant to the 
president for science and technology, 

"There's a general consensus that CENR has not been 
very effective at coordination in these times of budget 
auslerity," says Hubbell, an evolutionary biologist at 

Phnceton University and chairman of the Committee for 
the NIE, He notes that the NIE would ensure that policies 
are enacted appropriately without regard for who hap- 
pens to be in office. 

Hubbell envisions the NIE serving as a unifying force, 
driving a continuing, comprehensive analysis of interdis- 
ciplinary environmental problems. For example, some 
scientists maintain that chlorine mingled with pesticides 
can mimic Ihe effects of estrogen, causing feminization of 
wildlife. One theory holds that the declines in the Great 
Lakes' fish populations can be attributed to related losses 
of funclion. The NIE would have a broad enough man- 
date to link, say neuroendocrinology with environmental 
science to help exam- 
ine the varied science 
issues in such a case. 

Rather than operat- 
ing completely inde- 
pendently of existing 
programs such as the 
EPA and Ihe U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service, 
the NIE would instead 
be tightly linked with 
them. The NIE planners 
want research directors 
of federal agencies to 
serve on an advisory 
panel so that they can 
prevent duplication of 
effort and ensure that 
the NIE's work comple- 
ments existing federal 
research programs. The NIE scenario also calls for the 
institute to help coordinate research with education, a key 
service that no existing agency provides. 

But wait — there's more. The plans for the NIE include 
the establishment of the National Library for the 
Environment, which would house relevant information on 
issues ranging from wetlands protection to toxic-waste 
cleanup. The library would be open to everyone with a 
stake in an issue, from business leaders to local govern- 
ments to homeowners. 

Indeed, this new institute may end up making every- 
body happy. For now, its future is in the hands of legisla- 
tors, "Against the backdrop of the budget debate," 
Saxton says, "the NIE presents an opportunity for the 
United States to reinvent environmental science." 




Watching flies copulate is an 
important pari of recent 
work refuting ttie idea that 
species arise only via 
many changes of small ef- 
fect. In some instances, 
very small genetic changes 
have profound effects, 
says Jerry Coyne, professor of 
ecology and evolution at 
the University of Chicago. 

Numerous barriers 
discourage species mixing, 
one of the most important 
of which is sexual isolation, 
where species differ in 
mating behaviors, says Coyne. 
For example, female fruit 
flies (drosophila) attract males 

with chemicals (pheromones) 
in the waxy substance cover- 
ing their bodies, which stim- 
ulate chemoreceptors in the 

male's forelegs and mouth, 

Coyne's group studied four 
species. In two, males and 
females both wear tricosene, 
and males will court these 
females, but not females of 
the other two species, 
which wear heptacosadiene. 
Males of these latter two 
species wear tricosene and 
will court any of the females. 
However the discriminat- 
ing males can be fooled. 
A female of the "wrong" spe- 
cies crowded among "right" 
ones can obtain enougfi pher- 
omone to be sexually inter- 
esting — even if dead. And hy- 
brid females, with half the 

correct fragrance, receive 
about half the courtship 
attention. Pheromones can 
also change males "from 
becoming really attracted to 
a female to being com- 


piGiely averse to i^er," ex- 
plains Coyne. 

Of drosophila's four chro- 
mosomes, "only a single 
small region of a single chro- 
mosome was responsible 
for this difference," states 
Coyne, who believes this 
tiny genetic difference "is a 
very important contributor 
to the origin of these species." 
— J. Blake Lambert 


As a particle physicist and 
senior safety officer at 
Fermilab, Hans Jostlein has 
to worry about lofty 
matters like confirming the 
existence of the top quark 
as well as mundane issues 
like protecting his col- 
leagues from harm. The latter 
concern weighed heavily 
on him, especially when he 
thought of Lab 8, a poorly 
constructed industrial build- 
ing thai would offer little 
protection in the event of a 
windstorm or tornado. 

Jostlein spotted the solu- 
tion to his concerns in the 
form of concrete chunks lying 
alongside the roadway — 
chunks which might be fash- 

ioned into a nifty wind 
shelter He met with repre- 
sentatives of the Chicago 
Precast Products Company of 
Naperville, and an inspired 
collaboration soon began. 

The result of this 
cooperative venture, the 
FermiShelter now sits 
next to Lab 8, ready in the- 
ory, to comfortably hold 
60 people while withstanding 
SOO-miie-per-hour winds 
and fending off flying objects 
such as trees or cars. The 
structure, arguably the first 
above-ground tornado 
shelter has a curvy, "wind- 
shedding" shape with no 
sharp edges or indentations 
for ttie wind to grab hold 
of. It's a sleek, 25-fool-long 
tunnel made out of 11- 
inch-thick reinforced concrete 
slabs, welded into the 
shape of an arch. 

"Structures like this make 
sense in places where 
basements may not be fea- 
sible," explains Liz Ruben- 
stein, a marketing engineer 
for the company, "The 
whole thing is portable and 
modular, making it easy 
to add or subtract concrete 
sections,"— Steve Nadis 


In 1988. the Department of 
Energy (DOE) planned to 
begin depositing plutonium- 
contaminated wastes from 
U.S nuclear weapons plants 
2,CX)0 feet below the earth's 
surface in salt deposits near 
Carlsbad, New Mexico. 
The DOE postponed those 
plans as a response to 
environmental criticism; and 
seven years later the facility 
called the Waste Isolation Pi- 

■ 'n-\ 

lot Plant (WIPP) remains 
unused. Astronomers hope 
to lake advantage of this 
unique, abandoned site to 
study supernovas and the 
elusive emissaries from those 
violent stellar explosions, 

A neutrino observatory 

background of any place we 

know of on earth," says 
UCLA physicist David Cline. 
a member of the astron- 
omy team that wants to install 
hundreds of neutron 
detectors in the subter- 
ranean facility The basic 
idea is that neutrinos from a 
supernova explosion might 
pass through the salt beds, 
unleashing neutrons that 
could be picked up by an 
array of instruments. 

By measuring the exact 
timing of the neutron sight- 
ings, scientists hope to learn 
how fast neutrinos travel 
and, by inference, whether 
these particles have any 
mass, It's a point of major cos- 
mological significance, 
since that single measure- 
ment could mean the dif- 
ference between a universe 
that expands forever or 
one in which matter eventu- 
ally begins to collapse. 

Cline and his colleagues 
still need to secure per- 
mission from the Department 
of Energy as well as raise 
additional funds. "The bigges: 
problem is not money, 
but finding a place where we 
can set up our equipment 




must be underground to 
provide shielding from cos- 
mic rays. Low levels ol 
background radioactivity are 
also essential. According 
to preliminary measurements, 
WIPP scores well on both 
counts. "In fact, this site has 
ttie lowest radioactive 

and leave it alone, possibly 
for decades," he says. 
The hope is that a nuclear 
waste disposal iacility— 
storing materials that will 
stay radioactive for tens 
of thousands of years — just 
might be around for a 
while.— Steve Nadis 


During the late 1960s 
and early 1970s, the U.S. 
government financed 
the design of prototype su- 
personic aircraft, and 
planned to build a fleet o> 
500 planes. This vast 
fleet never materialized, due 
to concerns about sonic 
booms, air pollution, and 
ozone depletion. [Theo- 
retical models predicted 
that 10 percent of the 
earth's ozone layer would 
be destroyed by nitro- 
gen oxides released in the 

NASA and the aircraft 
industry have attempted 
to revive the concept, cit- 
ing developments that 
may make the idea more 
salable. On the drawing 
board are new engmos thai 
would emit several iimes 
less exhaust than the Con- 
corde, the only commer- 
cial supersonic transport 
(SST) now flying. Also. 
NASA conducted dozens 
of research flights in the 
stratosphere in 1993 and 
1994 to measure con- 
centrations of various gases, 
and the results are en- 
couraging, "The effects of 
nitrogen oxides ori ozone 
are not nearly as large as 

we thought they were 
just a few years ago," says 
Richard Stotarski, a 
research scientist at the 
NASA Goddard Space 
Flight Center 

Cruising altitude may be 
ihe key factor 'There 
appears to be an altitude ; 
where large fleets of 
SSTs would not harm the 
ozone layer," says Harold 
Johnston, an atmospheric 
chemist at the University 
o! California, Berkeley This 
so-called "safe flying 
zone" is thought to lie be- 
tween 1 7 and 20 kilome- 
ters in altitude, although an 
exact cut-off point has 
yet to be established Sci- 
entists are also trying 
to determine the e/rteni to 
which aircraft exhaust 
gases will drift upward in the 
atmosphere to altitudes 
where damage to ozone 
will be more substantial 

Ozone, of course, is not 
the only environmental 
issue, "We need to look at 
how other things in the 
exhaust — water, soot, and 
sullur — migfit affect the 
climate," Stolarski says. "For 
once, we're trying to figure 
this out in advance, rather 
than just going ahead 
and seeing what happens," 
—-Steve Nadis 



A group of scientists, 10.000 
leet down along the East 
Pacific Rise in the deep-sea 
research submersibie 
Alvin, were recently startled 
by the sight of Iwo male 
octopuses of diffGrent spe- 
cies, their arms entwined 
in amorous embrace. 

It raises all sorts of ques- 
tions about what's going 
on down there," says octopus 
specialist Janet Voight of 
the Field Museum of Natural 
History in Chicago, who 
was summoned to analyze 
1 6 minutes of videotaped 
footage of the X-rated en- 
counter the first of its kind 
spotted in the wiid. "If you're 
going to see one, and 
only one act of mating be- 
havior between deep sea 
octopuses, you would not 

36 OMNI 


expect to see this," 

The lurid film was shot in 
the Hole to Hell, west of 
Guatemala along the mid- 
ocean ridge that extends 
up into the Gulf of California, 
according to marine ecol- 
ogist Richard Lutz of the Insti- 
tute of Marine and Coastal 
Studies at Rutgers University. 
The smaller partner, a 15- 
inch white octopus, was of a 
species that had not previ- 
ously been seen. One of his 
grooved arms had a cup- 
shaped grasper at the end. 
Males use this to insert a 

duct. Thai's exactly what he 
was doing to a much 
larger six-foot, grayish-brown 
octopus when the Alvin 
arrived to record the deep- 
sea mating ritual between 
the two males. 

Since cephalopods aren't 
hermaphrodilic, Voight 
theorizes the odd coupling 
occurred because every 
time octopuses meet at such 
lonely depths, each must 
explore the possibility, how- 
ever remote, that the other 
might be a female, lest they 
miss a rare mating oppor- 
tunity — George Nobbe 

"If A equals success, then 
the formula A=X+Y+Z. 
X is work. Y is play. Z is l<eep 
your moulfi shut. " 

— Albert Eins^e.n 


Using heavily magnified 
pictures taken from a Irans- 
'nsslon electron micro- 
■icope, or TEM, scientists at 
ine [Vlassachusetts Insti- 
tute of Technology can now 
"fingerphnt" individual 
soot particles. This tech- 
nique may eventually 
enable them to trace soot to 
its source, whether that is 
a particular type of combus- 
tion engine or a specific 
factory's smokestack. 

Soot from different sources 
has distinctively different 
characteristics, according to 
chemical engineers Ad el 
Saroftm and John Vander 
Sande. They enlarged 
the TEM pictures roughly 2,5 
million times and then pro- 
duced digitally enhanced im- 
ages of single layers, which 
form the particles. 

The MIT scientists then 
compared the enhanced 
images with the originals and 
discovered that the spac- 
ing between the layers varied 
with the type of fuel that 
produced the soot. In other 
words, soot produced by 
diesel fuel has a uniquely dif- 
ferent layer structure from 
that produced by anthracene. 


That's Irue because the 
two pass through different 
thermal and chemical 

"They look exactly like a 
fingerprint," says Sarofim, 
describing the different par- 
aiiel lines of spacing be- 
tween carbon atoms of sool. 
"At the moment we aim to 
distinguish between soot from 
the major types of (uei 
such as diesel, wood, fuei oil, 
and natural gas. But in 
time we hope to say whether 
a particle came from a 
particular type of engine or 
even a certain factory" 

If it works as well in the 
field as 11 has on lab sam- 
ples of air, ihe fingerprints 
could not only lead pollu- 
tion sleuths to Irouble spots, 
but also lead to filtration 
systems more adept at trap- 
ping airborne particles, 

s Nobbe 


Researchers at the U.S. De- 
partment ol Energy's 
Pacific Northwest Labora- 
tory (PNL) are designing 
miniature heat pumps that 
could drastically improve 
heating and coding in build- 
ings of the future. Dis- 
tributing many smaller heai 
pumps throughout a build- 
ing could save energy, says 
Kevin Drost of PNL, proj- 
ect co-manager (with Bob 
Wegeng), because it 
would eliminate losses of 
about 1 5 percent due to 
cycling a large system on and 
off, and 30 to 40 percent 
in the ducting. In homes, he 
adds, only about half the 
energy actually gets to where 
it's needed - 

The PNL team has devel- 
oped evaporators and 
condensers which can be 

made as small at j. .ik-e 
with performance 10 to 100 
times better than required. 

The team hopes to make 
sheets of evaporators, 
compressors, and condens- 
ers, then sandwich them 
into one thicker sheet "that 
acts like a heat pump but 
in reality consists of a large 
number of individual heat 
pumps operating in paral- 
lel," Drost says 

At first the energy-saving 
devices will be used 
"where weight and volume 
are important — defense 
applications, space applica- 
tions, transportation." 
Eventually the team hopes 
to design a sheet of ther- 
mally active material, that 
could "sense its environ- 
ment and then respond ther- 
mally" as desired. 

—J. Blake Lambert 


The Federal Aviation Admin- 
istration (FAA), plagued 
by a recent series of plane 
crashes apparently caused 
by accumulated snovj and 
. iceon wings and engines, 
may have been handed a 

problems by a father-and- 

son team of inventors 
from Mahwah, New Jersey 

The FAA and Ihe Na- 
tional Aeronauiics and Space 
Admimslratlon (NASA) 
are both test-flying planes 
equipped with a thin layer 

I A New Jersey father-and- 

BImBBB B™**'^ ^'"" called 
SmartSkin ttiat conducts 

electricity lo keep vital com- 
ponents warm. The pat- 
ented approach is the inven- 
tion of Ot)s H, Hastings 
and his son. Otis M , of 
Thermion Technologies. 

"it's a very simple applica- 
tion of a heating clement 
within a mckei-coated graph- 
ite fiber scrim,," explains 
Ihe elder Hastings, whose 
coaiing can be impreg- 
nated or rolled inio the 

paltPd ^LrfT eOi J">y 

} 1^ e Once apple 1 tn'^r 
m'll censors deteL ren? 

^ lor airplanes cal ground oullet or n 

the air by the EffimmilJ^BBH 

gines' power systems. 

"SmartSkin can warm 
wing cages and vertical 
stabilizers that are essential 
to flight withoul distort- 
ing the aerodynamics." says 
Hastings The invention 
could render obsolete the 
currem use of glycol 
sprays or other old-fashioned 
de-icing remedies, such 
as bleeding hot air off the 1 
planes' engines. 

The inventors say the 
graphite scnm is so thin 
It's vidualiy invisible once i! 
IS impregnated into the 
aircraft's paint. They have li- 
censed their low-energy 
system to Aerospace Safety 
Technologies, a Menden, 
Nevada aviation manufactur- 
ing supplier. — George Nobbe 

* * 3'. 



w^St^ '^ ^^9SSt 



m^^BBS^^^ ' JIBS^SSB 


-^-- -■! -^ 

jS^ ■ 


back as the Depression-haunted 
1930s, the Dickson 

IlUnois, had been a 
ular local tourist attraction. 

-f over 200 exposed 
-dian graves. 

the skeletal remains of the 
occupants revealed 

as they had been found yea 

mer, Don Dickson, had begun 

excavating the 
burials in 1927 — at least partly 

out of professional interest as a cfii- 
ropraclor (he wanted to examine tine I 
;s) — and, in tfiose days, \he I 
Dicl^Eon Mounds attraction was little f 

5 than a wood-frame stnelier 
over a iiole in the ground. 

Trouble began in the early 
1970s, when (he slate buill a new 
museum on the site. Native Ameri- | 
cans, upset by the exploitative ex- 
it, threatened to protest at the 
seum's dedication cererr,my 
5 protest never occurred, bui 
complaints continued intermr.torr ■,■ 
until 1989 when, sensing the shiHr ■ 
tide of public opinion, Judith Ptfyi 

mended to the governor of Illinois 
that the exhibit be closed. 

But that wasn't the end of the 
trouble. When the local Lewislown I 
public heard of the plan to close the I 
site, they protested in return. The llli- 
nois Department of Natural Re- 
sources held hearings; Dicl<son I 
Mounds became a battleground of I 
ihe 1990 Illinois gubernatorial cam- 
t; and the decision was re- 
ed — the exhibit would stay I 
I. Native American groups [ 
demonstrated outside the museum; 
some leaped into Ihe pits and cov- 
ered the sl<elelons with blani^ets; 
and Ihe verdict was changed again. 
1 April 1992, the site was officially I 
closed to the public, a concrete | 
slab was laid over the pit of open 
graves, and with that the last exhibit ] 
of Native American remains in ■ 
country was sealed. The governor I 
nitted $4 million to renovate | 
and expand the museum, as a salve 
to ihe angry residents of Lewislown, 
but hardly anyone was pleased by I 
the compromise — Native Americans I 
wanted the bones reburied rather 
than simply covered over, scientists I 
wanted more lime to study the re- 
mains, and the local townspeople I 
still felt their interests had been f 
manhandled by outsiders. 

The bitter conflict at Dickson I 
Mounds is just one of many such 
clashes that have plagued mu; 

and archaeologists over Ihe I 
past several years, as Nalive Ameri- 

I cans have demanded the return (or 

"repatriation") of remains and arti- 

I facts held b'^ the nation's museums. 

I and more sensitive exhibits on Na- 

- wmerican culture. During the 
-i-nth and early twentieth cen- 

- archaeologists and agents 
such prominent institutions as 

I the Smithsonian and the American 
Museum of .Natural History were 
digging up relics from Native Ameri- 
1 burial grounds and trading for 

I artifacts on reservations. Vast col- 
lections of material — from prehis- 

i loric pottery and bone carvings to 
feather headdresses, mumm 

I and si^elelons — ended up in the dis- 

; play cases and storage boxes of 

I museums. As Native American 
tivism grew during the 1960s and 
197DS, pressure on museums to n 
turn such objects — particularly the 

j human remains — grew as well. 

The repalnation issue reached £ 

I watershed in the 1980s, when ar- 
chaeologists and museum curators. 
who had largely remained passlv 
before (hoping, perhaps, that the 
issue would blow over in time). 

I started to give Native American 

I claims serious consideration — and, 
n some cases, to agree to return all 

I or part of their collections to the 
tribes. California's Department of 
Paries and Recreation, which held 
hundreds of skeletons, was one of 
the first, yielding to pressure ii 
1983, but challenge from archaeolo- 

I gists held the repatriation back for 
ny years. As the decade pro- 

I gressed, the weight of opinion 
began to shift toward the Native 
American view, and other institu- 
tions such as Stanford University 
and Ihe University of Nebraska 
agreed lo return collections. Most 
significantly, Ihe Smithsonian Institu- 
iion, which had held out under in- 
creasingly ardent protests for years, 
signed an agreement with two na- 
nal Indian organizations 

! September 1989, providing for the 

I return of some of its 18,500 Native 

j American "specimens" and their as- 

I sociated funeral objects. 

As Ihe number of professional ar- 

l!;c and conllicl (or inusctiin curators and arcnacoloaisls. 

chaeologists and museum curators 
who favor repatriation has grown, so 
has a very personal brand of passion 
on both sides. Normally polite acade- 
mic papers in journals such as Ameri- 
can Antiquity drift at times toward insult 
with terms like "immoral" and "hypocrisy" 
and phrases like "the anthropological 
trap of cultural relativism." The Council 
for West Virginia Archaeology and the 
Society for West Virginia Archaeology 
jointly sued the state of West Virginia 
over a plan to excavate a burial mound 
at Cotiga— they felt the state plan gave 
too much power to a coalition of Native 
Americans who had voiced concern. 
Not content with a court battle, the 
plaintiffs fought it out in the press as 
well, "I saw things that were vitriolic 
against me personally in artifact-trader 
magazines and collector magazines," 
recalls William G, Farrar, deputy com- 
missioner of the West Virginia Division of 
Culture and History with some amuse- 
ment and a touch of old irritation. 

In keeping with the trend, the state 
won the case, and a subsequent ap- 
peal. "We established that repatriation 
is a program that's here to stay" says 
Farrar Bit by bit, a consensus is form- 
ing, says Anthony Klesert, director of 
the Navajo Nation Archaeoiogical De- 
partment in Window Rock, Arizona, 
"that, indeed, these things are the 
property of Indian tribes." That consen- 
sus is what scares some archaeolo- 
gists and museum professionals. If 
objects are relumed to Native Ameh- 
cans, there's no way to ensure their 
fate, "They'll have the right of determin- 
ing what happens to them," says 
James Brown, chairman of the anthro- 
pology department at Northwestern 
University, "including the right to sell 
them." The Yup'lk natives of St, 
Lawrence Island, Alaska, recently took 
to raiding their own archaeological 
sites and selling the valuable artifacts 
to dealers. 

But resale isn't the most disturbing 
{or likely) possibility by far Much of the 
material returned to Native Americans 
will be destroyed in one way or another. 
The human remains and funeral objects 
will be rebuhed. Other objects, such as 
the striking wooden war-god sculptures 
crafted by the Zuni, will simply be ex- 
posed to the elements to decompose 
naturally, as they were originally in- 
tended to do by Zuni custom, 

Certainly, some of the resistance to 
repatriation derives from sentimentality 
but it's the loss of scientific data and 
access to precious archaeological re- 
sources that will hurt the most. "When a 
new advance comes along," Brown ex- 
plains, "it's precisely those well-known, 
well-documented collections that the 

promoters of the new methodology or 
perspective go to in order to verify and 
affirm the usefulness of their ap- 
proach." Over time, such benchmark 
collections, which have been analyzed 
and reanalyzed by dozens of different 
techniques, become ever more valuable 
to researchers. "In that light," says 
Brown with a note of regret, "the con- 
signment of the collection to oblivion is 
rather unfortunate," 

The trend toward repatriation and 
the accommodation of Native Ameri- 
can concerns reflects a general shift in 
public opinion toward respecting the 
viewpoints of historically oppressed mi- 
norities. The same cultural forces that 
have brought team names like the 
Washington Redskins under fire have 
bequeathed a powerful moral force to 
the proponents of repatriation. "For so 
long archaeologists have taken a really 
coloniallstic attitude toward Indians 
and their remains," says Anthony 
Klesert. "To a certain extent, we've got 
it coming," Bui there's more to it than 
fashionable group guilt. Anthropologi- 

didn't like professional archaeology." 

That becomes a particularly impor- 
tant distinction when issues of respect 
for Native American beliefs tread on 
some of our own most ireasured princi- 
ples. One of the points in the Cotiga 
burial mound dispute was a request by 
the Native American group that female 
researchers working at the site not han- 
dle the burial materials — the human re- 
mains and related funeral objects — 
while they were menstruating. "My 
immediate reaction," says Farrar, "was, 
well, you can ask, but I'm not going to 
enforce it, and 1 don't know it anyone 
will agree to that," 

The issue was resolved, however, 
without conflict, The spokesperson for 
the Native American group (a woman) 
talked It over with the head of the ar- 
chaeological team (also a woman), and 
she agreed to honor their request. "She 
said she'd been in that situation on 
several reservation digs," Farrar re- 
calls. "That it wouldn't interfere with 
their work, and it would foster good n 
lations, so no sweat." 

ashionable group guilt. Anthropologi- lations, so no sweat." 

The trend toward repatriation reflects a 
general shift in public opinion 

toward respecting the viewpoints of his- 
torically oppressed minorities, 

dictate a stance of neutral Likewise, the sensitive is 

cal ethics dictate a stance of neutral 
cultural relativism and noninterference, 
Klesert explains, "which means taking 
into account the world-view and the 
point-of-view of the people who gener- 
ated these objects." Looked at that 
way, repatriation seems less like a be- 
trayal of scientific principles than fi- 
delity to scientific ethics, even if it 
means precious relics and valuable ev- 
idence must be destroyed. "From an 
anthropological point of view, maybe 
that's what should happen," Klesert 
suggests, "if the makers, the design- 
ers, the users of the items want them 
destroyed, that's the way it should be." 
"If thai were my grandmother's head 
up on the shelf," says William Farrar, 
"I'd be incensed, and so would most of 
the people in the state of West Virginia," 
But, Klesert points out, it's not enough 
to support the Native American view- 
point only when one's own gut-level re- 
sponse agrees with it. "That's missing 
the point— it's not a question of how 
would you feel, it's how do they feel." 
Farrar elaborates' "I don't have to believe 
in if, but I have to respect their beliefs, 
the same as I would respect the beliefs 
of professional archaeologists even if I 

Likewise, the sensitive issue of con- 
fidentiality — what critics would call cen- 
sorship — raises the hackles of 
Amen cans weaned on the first amend- 
ment. "Confidentiality is an important 
aspect of a lot of sacred places and 
sacred ceremonies," says Anthony 
Klesert. "It has to be respected." Na- 
tive Americans are often loathe to 
share Information about sacred topics 
at all, and when they do, they want to 
have a say about its publication and 
dissemination. Photographs and other 
documentation of buhai sites may of- 
fend some Native Americans, who 
would rather no such records were 
kept, even for scientific purposes. 
Robert ivtaslowski, president of the 
Council for West Virginia Archaeology, 
claims that the original plan for the 
Cotiga mound excavation would have 
returned all the materials — even the 
scientific records — to the Native Ameri- 
cans for disposal, though in the end no 
such action occurred, and Farrar de- 
nies that he would ever have endorsed 
such a plan. "1 will not stand for censor- 
ship on anything that comes through 
this office, pehod," he Insists. 

The 1990 Native American Graves 

protection and Repatriation Act {NAG- 
PRA) brought some mucti-needed 
structure to ttie morass of ethical de- 
bate. Wtiile it essentially favors Native 
Americans, requiring repatriation of 
several categories of material and es- 
tablishing procedures for handling 
buhals discovered on federal or tribal 
lands, MAGPRA also set some limits on 
Native American demands. It covers 
only a narrow range of relics and re- 
quires Native American claimants to 
demonstrate some "cultural affilia- 
tion" — a "reasonable" link {not neces- 
sarily based on direct genealogical 
descent) between their ancestry and 
the remains or artifacts in question, 
NAGPRA has become a reference point 
for both scientists and Native Ameri- 
cans — a "middle ground," says Richard 
Stoffle of the University of Arizona's Bu- 
reau of Applied Research and Anthro- 
pology, where the opposing parties 
can meet to resolve the specific terms 
of the act itself as well as the larger is- 
sues of their relationship, 

NAGPRA specified that any facility 

between what was left in the past and 
who lives today," Over the centuries, 
many different tcibes may have occu- 
pied a particular area, and records for 
some regions (and some collections) 
are hopelessly spotty Stoffle and his 
colleagues have conducted several 
cultural affiliation studies, some in con- 
nection with NAGPRA, to help institu- 
tions determine which living people 
might be related to their collections. "A 
cultural affiliation study tells you who to 
talk with," Stoffle says. "We take the 
broadest possible net, and we look at a 
place and say who could possibly 
have lived here in whatever time pe- 
riod, and we argue for the involvement 
of all those tribes " 

But then all that remains are repre- 
sentatives from the various affiliated 
tribes, not a solution, Critics question how 
well anyone's concerns will be addressed 
by such a process, and whether Native 
American groups are going to make wise 
decisions about the long lists of arti- 
facts museums are sending them. But 
archaeologists who have worked closely 

Native Americans are exceptionally 

careful. The last thing they 

want to do is bring somebody else's body 

back to their reservation. 

receiving federal funds had to make an 
inventory of its Native American hold- 
ings, determine (in consultation with 
Native Americans and scientists) which 
tribes might be culturally affiliated with 
their objects, inform the tribes of their 
findings (by November 16, 1995), and 
return to them any affiliated items in 
several categories. Generally, NAGPRA 
demands the return of human remains 
and associated grave goods, unasso- 
cialed grave goods (objects ot a fune- 
real nature but not accompanied by 
any remains in the collection), sacred 
objects^meaning materials vital for 
the practice of Native American reli- 
gion — and objects of "cultural patri- 
mony," a vague term alluding to 
culturally important items which belong 
to the tribe as a whole, and therefore 
should never have been traded or sold 
by individual tribe members. 

In many ways, NAGPRA has only re- 
fined the debate, not resolved it. Its 
gray areas leave room for widely vary- 
ing interpretations. The requirement of 
cultural affiliation is a knottier problem 
than it might seem. "From an archaeo- 
logical standpoint." says Richard Stof- 
fle, "it's very hard to make a connection 

34 OMNI 

with Native Americans think they'll be 
exceptionally careful in going over mu- 
seum inventories and claiming items. 
"In most cases they're really conserva- 
tive," says Richard Stoffle. "The last 
thing they want to do is bring somebody 
else's body back to their resen/ation." 

Still, NAGPRA's necessarily vague 
definitions allow museum directors to 
view cultural affiliation as narrowly as 
possible — indeed, professional ethics 
may require them to do so. Museums 
have a "public trust," explains Judith 
Franks, and whatever the personal 
feelings of curators, they can't just give 
objects in their care to whoever makes 
a claim. Others feel that NAGPRA ought 
to be interpreted as broadly as possi- 
ble. For instance, says Richard Stoffle, 
"we believe that unrecognized tribes 
have a right to participate," He and his 
colleagues recommend that unrecog- 
nized tribes, not technically covered by 
NAGPRA, be included in museum con- 
sultations. "Simply because the federal 
government currently doesn't recog- 
nize them should not disqualify them 
from the process," he says. For some, 
splitting hairs over the degree of cul- 
tural affiliation is nothing bul a cynical 

way for archaeologists and museums 
to keep their precious materials. "Give 
me a break," says Anthony Klesert. "What 
IS clear is that these things aren't related 
to us, European-stock archaeologists," 

NAGPRA itself may be limited to 
specific categories of materials and to 
the holdings of federally funded institu- 
tions, but it's also served as a catalyst 
for discussing and resolving wider is- 
sues of respect for Native American 
concerns. The American Indian Reli- 
gious Freedom Act of 1978 (AIRFA) 
mandated protection for a much 
broader range of materials and issues 
related to Native American culture; 
Rather than just burial sites and funeral 
objects, AIRFA encompasses such 
things as important wild plants and ani- 
mals, and what Richard Stoffle calls 
"traditional cultural properties," sacred 
sites which may show little or no evi- 
dence of human habitation, and so are 
not often protected from development 
or intrusion. AIRFA didn't have the 
"teeth" of NAGPRA, with its very spe- 
cific requirements, deadlines, and 
penalties, but many institutions are tak- 
ing the opportunity to comply with 
AIRFA's terms as they come into com- 
pliance with NAGPRA, "Thai's good," 
says Stoffle. "From a Native American 
standpoint, I think it's a lot better to 
have AIRFA compliance," 

Such broad consultations will likely 
be NAGPRA's most important and last- 
ing effect, "Its purpose is certainly not 
to loot museums," says C. Timothy 
McKeown, the National Park Service's 
program leader for national implemen- 
tation of NAGPRA, "The legacy of 
NAGPRA will be that it mandates dia- 
logue between museums and Indian 
tribes." Once archaeologists, museum 
curators, federal land managers, and 
others start talking to concerned Native 
Americans and exchanging views, 
problems can be resolved before they 
start. "If NAGPRA works, there will be a 
better partnership between museum 
professionals and the tribes," says 
Richard Stoffle, 

That partnership will do a lot more 
than help in avoiding future problems. 
The adversarial relationship between 
archaeology and Native Americans has 
left archaeologists working without the 
benefit of one of the best potential 
sources of information — the Native 
Americans themselves. When it comes 
io interpreting finds, says Anthony 
Klesert, "they have the inside track." 
NAGPRA-mandated consultations 
could yield a wealth of information 
about museum holdings. "You put In- 
dian people on archaeological materi- 
als," says Richard Sloffle, "and do so in 
a manner in which their information is 

desired for its protection, and they'll 
share knowledge that archaeologists 
are hungry for" As MAGPRA deadlines 
have come and gone, Timothy McKe- 
own has fielded panicky calls from small, 
understaffed museums with less-than- 
thoroughly documented collections. 
"The Indians are coming,' they say," 
McKeown recounts. "'What should we 
do?' 1 tell them I'd listen attentively, and 
I'd jot things down, because you're 
about to learn a lot about your collec- 
tion. The experts are coming to you." 

Native Americans can also learn 
somelhing from talking with museum 
staff and archaeologists. For decades 
the federal government pursued a pol- 
icy of assimilation and suppression of 
Native American cultures, and muse- 
ums and anthropologists were often the 
only parties (save the Indians them- 
selves) interested in preserving a record 
of those endangered societies. Particu- 
larly in the East and Midwest, where 
Native Americans were forcibly re- 
moved from their lands, and their cultures 
were sharply disrupted by European in- 
vasion, archaeology can provide a 
unique and vital link to the past. 

William Farrar recalls that during the 
excavation at Cotiga, "there were a lot 
of Native Americans who came down 
to the site to see what was going on, 
and who understand that what the ar- 
chaeologists are bringing out is also 
teaching Ihem about their past civiliza- 
tions," First-hand exposure might even 
inspire more Native Americans to take 
up archaeology or anthropology as a 
profession, which could only be a great 
boon to research as well as to the on- 
going dialogue between the two 
camps. "There are all too few American 
Indian archaeologists and anthropolo- 
gists at least in this part of the country," 
says Judith Franke. 

Anthony Klesert helped establish 
two programs for training Native Ameri- 
cans as professionals, one at Northern 
Arizona University and the other at Fort 
Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, 
but they're small and poorly funded, 
supported as they are by the Navajo 
tribe itself. "We're laying some ground- 
work here," Klesert says, "but anthro- 
pology departments need to be 
focusing on recruiting Native Ameri- 
cans themselves." 

NAGPRA has already had some 
mutually beneficial side effects. The 
Arizona Stale fvluseum now has a com- 
mittee of Native Americans who consult 
not only on NAGPRA issues, but on the 
collection as a whole and on the pre- 
sentation of Native American culture in 
the museum's exhibits. "The museum's 
going to be a beller place because In- 
dian people and museum profession- 

als have gotten together," says Stoffle. 

NAGPRA also specifies that if a burial 
is discovered anywhere on federal or 
tribal land, work at the site must stop for 
30 days to allow Native Americans and 
archaeologists to study the remains 
and determine their disposal. That clause 
might actually lead to the completion of 
more archaeological research. Under 
NAGPRA, contractors will have an in- 
terest in commissioning comprehen- 
sive archaeological surveys of potential 
construction sites, says Timothy McKe- 
own, because "the last thing they want 
to do is put a construction project through 
a place where there are burials, and 
have to wait 30 days every time they hit 
one." Anthony Klesert recalls one re- 
cent case in which the Peabody Coal 
Company arranged for an exhaustive 
survey of an Anasazi burial ground be- 
fore Ihey started digging, "If NAGPRA 
hadn't been passed," says Klesert, 
"those remains would have been 
plowed under by the drag line." 

Museum curators and archaeologists 
would be wise to focus on such en- 
couraging reports. Klesert, for one, be- 
lieves that substantial repatriation is 
inevitable, and that opposing it will only 
hurt more in the end, "The more people 
drag their feet, the more we start look- 
ing like the bad guys in the public eye. 

and the public is the source of our fund- 
ing. We depend on the good impres- 
sions of the public, and by golly they're 
going to side with the Indians— they 
will, there's no question about that." 

The power of the Native American 
appeal comes down to two factors: the 
volume of the complaint, and the moral 
force behind it. No outcry arose over 
the handling ot the well-preserved 
body of the now-famous Ice fvlan found 
in the Alps a few years ago, though at 
only 5,000 years old and with such 
good preservation. It might have been 
possible to determine likely relatives 
with far more accuracy than in most 
Native American cases. "They have all 
sorts of Neanderthal human remains on 
display in Europe," Klesert points out, 
"because nobody complains." Had 
some of the Swiss "descendants" of 
the Ice Man raised a protesi, perhaps 
his remains would have been promptly 
reburied as well. 

Native Americans occupy a unique 
position in the moral history ot our 
country, a position which invests their 
feelings with a profound force few other 
interest groups can match, "It's a ques- 
tion of respect," says William Farrar, 
"and until you can figure out a better 
way to handle that, reburial is what's 
going to happen. "DO 

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Smoke Contains Carbon Monoxide. 

Article By Linda Marsa 
Illustration by Sfanislaw Femandes 

"Today, the only wealth there is in the 

H - ealth that comes trem tiumon mind; How high-teoh firms ore cashing in on tomorrow's gold mind, 








in the 



There's an underground wdr being waged But no hostages hove been seized, no shots fired, 
and no oosuaities sustained. This covert bottie is over intelleotual propert/ rights, the obscure 
branch of the iow that determines who owns and who profits from ideas. Yet the outcome of 
this bioodless struggie could condemn society fo o Blade Runner future where a monoiithic 

Can our 

current legal 


corporate state owns everything, from the 
deepest reaches of cyberspace to each 
base pair on the human genome, 

"Billions of dollars are at stake in what is 
essenlially the ephemeral, but enormously 
powerful, domain of human creativity," says 
Fred Warshofsky, author of The Paten! 
Wsrs. "That creativity, in the form of ideas, 
innovations, and inventions, has replaced 
gold, colonies, and raw materials as the 
new wealth of nations." Advances in bio- 
technology — as well as in software devel- 
opment, in computer technology, and in ttie 
creation of the information superhighway — 
are testing the limits of our intellectual prop- 
erty laws, which govern patents, copy- 
rights, trademarks, and trade secrets. Ttiese 
rules determine when an idea is so novel 
that it is patentable, and provide legal 
mechanisms for collecting the profits gen- 
erated by this creative capital. "Intellectual 
property is a hot topic right now because 
it's part and parcel of the second industrial 
revolution we're going through," says Bruce 
A, Lehman, U.S. Commissioner of Patents 
and Trademarks. "Property has always 
been the essence of capitalism. The only 
difference is property is changing from tan- 
gible to intangible. Today, the only wealth 
there is in the world is the wealth that 
comes from the human mind." In recogni- 
tion of this, provisions for safeguards for in- 
tellectual property rights became a linchpin 
of U.S. endorsement of the General Agree- 
ment on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). 

Bui there's growing concern that the in- 

technology becomes more complex and 

the law increasingly esoteric, the victors in 
these undeclared wars may be those who 
can afford the heaviest artillery, "Large, 
powerful companies can bury their smaller 
opponents in a tidal wave of expensive liti- 
gation," says Fred Warshofsky, These legal 
battles may create what Warshofsky calls 
"intellectual property cartels," where behe- 
moths like Microsoft and Intel erect interlock- 
ing hardware-software monopolies reminis- 
cent of AT&T's hammerlock on telecom- 
munications prior to the breakup of Ma Bell, 

As we construct the scaffolding of the 
information superhighway — which will have 
the capacity to transmit mountains of data 
at gigabit speeds — government policymakers, 
consumer watchdogs, telecommunications 
industry officials, creative people^artists, 
writers, musicians— and even librarians are 
attempting to formulate guidelines to deter- 
mine who owns all those digitized bits of in- 
formation. Their debates echo controversies 
that have split scientists into warring camps 
over patenting biotechnology products and 
DNA, the very essence ofv 
life. And the outcome of? 
these seemingly arcane 
disputes may well decide^ 
what the world will be like ir 
the next millennium. 

This paradigm shift has itsl 
roots in a 1980 Supreme C 
decision that changed patent I 
law in the same way that Roe v. ' 
Wade forever altered the abor- 

keep pace 
with all 
the rapid ad- 
vances in 

credibly swill pace of technological devel- 
opment is fast outdistancing our delicately 
balanced legal system's ability to protect 
the rights of artists and inventors, to give in- 
dustry an incentive for innovation through 
patent protection, and, at the same time, to 
safeguard the public interest. The rapid 
proliferation of technology has become an 
unstoppable runaway train, and critics fear 
we're hurtling at warp speed into a legal 
abyss. And it seems that the minute one 
problem gets resolved, a dozen more crop 
up. No wonder lyricist Hal David ("Promises, 
Promises"} lamented that artists have be- 
come "road kill on the information highway" 
because they have no protection against 
cyberthieves who appropriate their work. 
What's equally disturbing is that as the 

tion debate. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme 
Court agreed that scientific discoveries 
were indeed inventions, and that new life 
forms can be patented. Specifically, the 
Court ruled General Electnc was entitled to 
own a new strain of bacleha devised in its 
New York labs to gobble up oil spills. It is 
ironic that only one vote changed the 
course of history, but this landmark ruling 
paved the way for patent protection for ge- 
netic engineering and allowed the bur- 
geoning biotech industry to exploit the 
staggering commercial potential in the cre- 
ation of new life forms, 

Jeremy Rifkin, head of the Foundation 
on Economic Trends and a critic of the 
abuse and misuse of genetic engineehng, 
was incensed. "Now, in the eyes of the law. 

a living creature is no different than a 
toaster oven or a computer," he re- 
called, in a recent interview. He re- 
members predicting tfiat "this decision 
w\\\ open up tlie floodgates for the 
commercialization of the gene pool, 
vifhich inevitably leads to the patenting 
of life itself." 

At the time, Rifkin sounded like a rag- 
ing fanatic. But he proved prophetic. A 
subsequent 1987 Supreme Court ruling 
extended patent protection to geneti- 
cally altered animals. Then, in August 
1993, the Rural Advancement Founda- 
tion International (RAFl) discovered the 
U.S. government had filed a patent on 
the cell line, which contains our entire 
genetic code, of an Indian woman from 
Panama who is stricken with leukemia. 

This Guayami woman, like others in 
her tribe, carries a unique virus and an- 
tibodies that may be useful in combat- 
ing AIDS and leukemia. There's also a 
community in Africa's Sudan that has a 
genetic resistance to malaria; inhabi- 
tants of Limone, Italy, harbor a gene 
that protects against heart disease; 
and some prostitutes in Nairobi may be 
immune to HIV, Each of these unique 
genetic traits has obvious commercial 
value. But the idea of patenting these 
cell lines, which contain human DMA, 
the key to life itself, kicks up a hornet's 
nest of legal and ethical issues — not 
the least of which is the specter of 
Americans plundenng the DNA of Third 
World people. "The human genome is 
the common heritage of our species." 
says Jonathan King, a biology profes- 
sor at MIT, "The notion of granting 
patents on human cell lines is compa- 
rable to a corporation owning the oxy- 
gen in the air. We have numerous 
examples in history of what happens 
when you allow humans to be com- 
modities—it's called slavery." 

The patent application for the 
Guayami woman was dropped after 
strenuous protests by Panamanian offi- 
cials But that didn't stop other U.S. 
government agencies from filing similar 
patents on ceil lines from people in 
Papua New Guinea and the Solomon 
Islands, They think the controversy is 
utter nonsense. "This sensational talk 
about [using this technology] to clone 
human beings who will live their lives in 
servitude is garbage," counters Patent 
Commissioner Bruce Lehman. "We're 
talking about a technology that creates 
a biological invention — and patents are 
simply a commercial mechanism for peo- 
ple to get paid for their innovations." 

The 1980 Supreme Court ruling- 
dubbed the Ghakrabarty decision after 
the General Electric scientist who con- 
cocted the oil-eating microbe— was 
probably inevitable, however, given the 

scientific revolution that had its genesis 
in 1972. That's when Herbert Boyer of 
the University of California at San Fran- 
cisco and Stanford's Stanley Cohen, 
while wolfing down corned beef sand- 
wiches on the patio of a Waikiki deli- 
catessen, figured out a way of plucking 
a gene from one organism and patch- 
ing it into the DNA of another. The hy- 
brid organism they created would then 
churn out the substance ordered up by 
the implanted gene. 

Gene splicing, as this technique 
came to be known, was the first funda- 
mentally new drug-making approach in 
decades, and it equipped scientists with 
the tools to mine the world's best phar- 
macopoeia for combating disease; the 
human immune system. Now drugs 
could be devised from bodily chemi- 
cals — precisely targeted therapeutics 
that were the Holy Grail of medicine. 

Stanford University officials con- 
vinced Stanley Cohen to apply for a 
patent for this technique. Cohen and 
Boyer waived their own rights to royal- 
ties from the invention, which has since 

patent was based on papers published 
in the early 1970s by IMobel laureate 
Har Gobind Khorana, who was then at 
W\\l, which discussed possible meth- 
ods of synthesizing multiple copies of 
small strands of DNA, "Cetus' con- 
tention was Mullis look elements that 
already existed in biology like the poly- 
merase enzyme that can copy DNA, 
and saw that they could be turned into 
a powerful new tool lo exponentially 
amplify DNA," explains Paul Rabinow, 
a University of California at Berkeley 
anthropologist and author of an up- 
coming book on PCR's history 

U.S. patent law rejects patent 
claims if a description of the invention 
was published more than one year be- 
fore the patent application was filed. If 
the court held that Khorana 's work did, 
in fact, outline a method for using an 
enzyme to amplify DNA, that would 
mean the idea for PCR was in the pub- 
lic domain. But when Ivlullis took the 
stand in the 1991 court battle, jurors 
were enthralled by the folksy Southern- 
bred scientist, as he spun out the tale 

Science is an incremental 
process. When is a discovery such a 

quantum leap forward that 
it qualifies as a patentable invention? 

generated more than $20 million in roy- 
alties to Stanford and UC-San Fran- 
cisco, but their fellow scientists were 
indignant. Hundreds of researchers 
working at dozens of institutions over 
three decades had contributed to the 
body of knowledge that led to this dis- 
covery For two institutions to claim all 
the credit, not to mention millions in 
royalties, was unconscionable. 

This has been the crux of many 
biotech patent disputes ever since. 
Science is an incremental process, 
with each advance built upon the 
bricks of the last. So when is a discov- 
ery such a quantum leap forward that it 
qualifies as a patentable invention? 
That was the central issue in the more 
recent skirmish between DuPont and 
Cetus over the rights to Polymerase 
Chain Reaction (PCR), Devised by 
Kary Ivlullis while he worked at Cetus, 
PCR is a simple process to amplify 
even the tiniest bits of DNA. This tech- 
nique revolutionized genetic research, 
spawned a billion-dollar industry, 
earned Mullis a Nobel prize, and was a 
source of much debate and contention 
in the recent 0. J. Simpson Inal. 

DuPont's challenge to Cetus's PCR 

of how the concept behind PCR came 
to him in a blinding flash during a mid- 
night drive up the northern California 
coast in the spring of 1983, He con- 
vinced the six-member panel that PCR 
was indeed the product of his — and 
only his— fevered imagination. 

Kary Mullis's creation of the PCR 
technique was obviously a conceptual 
breakthrough. But in other instances, 
how key a role an individual scientist 
has played in unearthing something 
new is not quite so clear-cut. That 
question was at the heart of the contro- 
versy that erupted in 1991 when the 
National Institutes of Health applied for 
patents on nearly 3,000 gene frag- 
ments discovered in the labs of one of 
its biochemists, J. Craig Venter, who 
had devised an ultrafast, automated 
method of gene sequencing. "There 
was a mother lode of information, some 
part of which will have phenomenal 
commercial potential," explains Reid 
Adier. a Washington attorney who was 
then head of the NIH's Office of Tech- 
nology Transfer. "We wanted to keep 
options open because no one had 
thought about how to best transfer this 
technology. Once data is published, it 

mission of copyrighted work should be 
considered infringement. But critics 
contend this sweeping mandate is 
based on obsolete concepts of intel- 
iectuai property — where originai works 
like booKs, films, records, and paint- 
ings could be contained in a neat 
package — that don't reflect twenty-first 
century realities. They also believe this 
radically tilts the balance of power in 
favor of the publishers, and that Dra- 
conian controls on electronic dissemi- 
nation of information could turn millions 
of E-mail users into criminals, "The re- 
port assumes ttiat increasing enforce- 
ment will protect copyright on the Net," 
says fi/like Godwin, staff counsel for the 
Electronic Frontiers Foundation, a civil 
liberties group launctied by Lotus 
founder Mitcli Kapor, "But the last thing 
we want is a law that felonizes what 
people are doing in their living rooms." 
Adds Prudence S. Adier, assistant ex- 
ecutive director of ttie Association of 
Researcti Libraries, "We're trying to de- 
velop some alternative cost recovery 
schemes" — aside from the pay per use 
of copyright — "that don't interfere with 
public access." 

It may be tough to enforce stricter 
rules in the electronic realm, though. 
Some music industry trade groups like 
ASCAP and BMI routinely deploy spies 
to discos, radio stations, and even aer- 
obics studios, to ensure song royalties 
are paid. And Microsoft and other soft- 
ware makers, says Fred Warshofsky, 
"have formed alliances such as the 
Software Publistier's Association (SPA) 
and the Business Software Alliance 
(BSA) that have over the past several 
years made a number of highly publi- 
cized raids on companies looking for il- 
legal copies of computer programs," 
But dispatching cytiercops to patrol 
the electronic frontier for copyright vio- 
lators seems wildly impractical How 
do you police the millions of computer 
users who can make instantaneous 
copies with a keystroke? A better solu- 
tion might be along the lines of the 
compromise reached by VCR-makers 
and movie producers, who recognized 
the impossibility of halting illicit taping. 
VCR firms pay into a royalty pool — 
these payments are added in to the 
VCRs' cost— which is distributed to the 
motion picture producers association. 

What's more, emerging nations in 
the Pacific Rim like Korea, Malaysia, 
Singapore, and Taiwan and in Latin 
American countries such as Brazil and 
Argentina, don't recognize discoveries 
or inventions as private property. In- 
stead, they've beefed up their 
economies by copying, adapting, or 
simply stealing technology in govern- 
ment-sanctioned ripoffs called "free 

riding." In the future, developing na- 
tions may become electronic havens in 
cyberspace for intellectual property 
plunderers, a Cayman Islands for data 
thieves akin to what author Bruce Ster- 
ling envisioned in his futuristic caution- 
ary tale. Islands in the Net. 

"That's why it's so important to get a 
global consensus," says Pamela 
Samuelson, a professor of law at the 
University of Pittsburgh Law School, "It 
SJoesn't make any sense to try to solve 
problems domestically if everyone can 
log on to off-shore sites " In fact, provi- 
sions in GATT are designed to circum- 
vent situations like this. The 1 16 nations 
in the trade pact have agreed to uni- 
form rules regarding protection of 
patents, copyrights, trade secrets, and 
trademarks in all fields of technology 
ranging from electronics and informa- 
tion technologies to biotechnology and 
pharmaceuticals. Poachers will be hit 
with stringent sanctions. 

An eleventh-hour intellectual prop- 
erty agreement reached between the 
United States and China in February 
1995 narrowly averted an all-out trade 
war. American officials were ready to 
impose exorbitant tariffs on Chinese 
imports and block China's admittance 
to the newly formed World Trade Orga- 
nization, which Beijing bureaucrats be- 

lieve is a prerequisite to modernizing 
their economy. At stake was nearly S3 
billion worth of sales American compa- 
nies lost each year because of the theft 
of intellectual property in China, where 
a thriving black market did a brisk busi- 
ness in pirated U.S. goods — ranging 
from CDs, laser disks, video games, 
movies, and software to counterfeit 
copies of jackets bearing the names of 
professional sports teams. 

But while the Clinton administration 
boasted about its great victory with the 
recalcitrant Chinese, many phvately 
wonder how vigorously the Beijing gov- 
ernment will pursue violators. 

Indeed, the world may be getting 
wired, but the law lags far behind the 
technology It may be several years be- 
fore we understand how to devise sen- 
sible mechanisms for protecting the 
fruits of our imagination. "It's still the 
Wild, Wild West on the electronic fron- 
tier," observes Burk. with bandits 
lurking on highway shoulders and cy- 
bershehffs dispensing vigilante justice. 
But one thing is certain: With brain 
power becoming such a coveted cur- 
rency, the twenty-first century will wit- 
ness the real revenge of the "nerds" 
and Nohei laureates may — finally — 
command bigger bucks than NFL run- 
ning backs. DO 



[o one future is inevitable," 
Isays Stephen Millett, 
whose job it is to forecast ihe 
future. "Many different futures 
are possible at any given mo- 
ment. But if you recognize 

bus, Ohio. His clients, ranking 
among the world's largest cor- 
porations, prcter latures that are 
prosperous,- therefore, they're 
hungiy for tomorrow's strate 
gies today- To accommodate 

than Battelle^ Since 1929, the 
world's largest n(.inpr(:>lit re- 
search lalT — with 8,000 techni- 
cal workers in ntiices around 
the world — has been a trading 
post of ideas on the frontier 

dominant trends, you can create 
strategics that lead you toward 
the future you prefer." Millett is 
head of technolog\' intelligence 
and management at Battelle 
Memorial Institute in Colum- 


them, I I of Battel Ic's senior re- 
-.(-Lirchers and managers gath- 
rici.i recently to name the 10 
nvM mlkicntial technologies of 
the next decade. 
Who should know better 

where present meets 
tulijre. Baitelle scien- 
tists taught the Man- 
hattan Pfoiecl how to 
refine urarrium duting 
World War II. They pio- 
neered alloys used in 
the first practical jel 
ertgines. When inven- 
tor Chester Carlson found no other 
backers for ^j8 electrostatic copying 
machine, BaittSse spent 16 years and 
iiundreds of thousands of dollars 
working with the Haloid Corporation 
to realize the machine's commercial 
DOtenlial. Not long after. Haloid 
changed its name to Xerox. More re- 
cently, Battetle researchers devised 
new ways to neuiralize loxic waste, 
launched a major initiative to de- 
velop intetligeni roads, and designed 
a primitive nanocomputer from poly- 
mer molecules. They even invented 
the plastic harness that holds six- 
packs together. 

ARer earning a doctorate in history at Ohic 
Slate University, Milieu began honing his iudg^ 
ment and experience as an instroclor at the' 
U.S- Air Force Institute of Technology. Throwrr- 
tn with scientists and engineers. "I watchecf^ 
technologists do forecasting and decided it was! 
far too interesting and lufi to be left to iherh; 
alone," He came to Batlelle in 1979 where n©; 
specializes in what he calls "applied history, 




which means learning to project the lessons from cwfe^^ftocl-i'^' ■> 
les. htsiorical analogies, and trend analysis into the future." 

To pick technology's top 10, Millett selected fellow experts 
holding among them more than two centunas of experience 
in fields ranging from electrical engineering and commer- 
cial energy systems, to physiology and genetics. "We have 

a breadth of expertise and a sensitivity 
to what works and doesr\'l work in the 
real world no university has. Our scien- 
tists and engineers have oeen in their 
fields for a long time," he explains. 'They 
have 3 sense ol technical dynamics 
and evolution within their specialties, 
■v^6 they can integrate lots of trends." 

In three hours of freewheeling con- 
■,'>:-! sation, the group's members named 
.'ver 40 technologies they expect will 
.voigh heavily in our collective future. 
inen Miltetl called (or a vote. Each ex- 
pen picked the eight areas lie or she 
believed to be the most influential and 
assigned each choice a point value 
from 8 to 1. The breakthrough earning 
:"e most points was declared the one 
;-.s:telle's technology mavens believe 
future more distinctly 

The list sports a 
mix ot technolo- 
gies. Some are 
sexy: some se- 
date There are 
tew surprises. The 
;ist's value is not in 
its power to enter- 
tain or amaze, but 
in the power of 
those who formu- 
lated it to separate 
the significant from 
the frivolous. "Some 
people look ai the 
list and say these 
technologies are 
around now," Millett acknowledges. 
"That's true Technologies making 
a difference in our lives 10 years 
from now have lo be around now. 
Some people wilt tell you for all the 
|i^ cutting-edge products emerging 
\- today, the technologies showed 
*"■ ■ ■ up at least 30 years 

ago Some would say 
50. Our purpose was 
not lo uncover what 
will be novel. It was 
to determine what 
wilt be important." 

Ouickly. though, 
the sllver-thalched 
forecaster waves 
away any hir 

^i!)ogm5i:'''"FS6f^9''ndth"lng ■Inevitable about this list. There's 
nothing inevitatile about anyone's list. We're saying this is a 
future that has yet lo be built but is entirely possible." 

In fact. Ihe very structure of technological research is 
shifting. As Millett explains, "During the 45 years of the Cold 
War, the federal government was the largest single player 

in a range of technological research. 
But in the last six years the government 
has been going out of the research 
business in a big way. This shifting ol 
research to private industry results in 
less emphasis on basic research and a 
greater focus on practical problem- 
solving As industry becomes more in- 
volved, a greater proportion is becoming 
overtly more commercially on en ted," 

So what is the proper role for gov- 
ernment in technology research? "De- 
veloping technology for public 
infrastructure in the broadest sense, 
such as intelligent highways — interac- 
tive roads that exchange data with 
smart cars," Millett replies, "There's re- 
search in embedding sensors in con- 
crete to read stresses continually in 
bridges Any lime government builds a 
transportation or communication link 
it's a big deal. The interstate highway 
system and the Internet were govern- 
ment projects, and both changed the 
nature of society. But government in- 
volvement in research is hkely to be 
smaller than in the past," 

In spite of this, Battelle named a 
government project— the mapping of 
the human genome— as the most im- 
portant strategic technology of the 
coming decade. When asked about 
this choice, Millett responded: 'The 
mapping itself will have no intrinsic 
commercial value. The government is 
underwriting this research as a part of 
the national health infrastructure, and 
the results will be readily available to 
everyone. But applying this information 
to create ways to identify genetic mark- 
ers within an individual has potentially 
enormous commercial applications. 
Knowledge of the genome is the key to 
curing and eventually eradicating hun- 
dreds of diseases, perhaps even slow- 
ing the aging process itself," 

According to Dr. Craig Hassler, a 
physiologist, the mapping project is at 
the point now that the microprocessor 
industry was in 1982— when people 
were just beginning to understand 
what "microprocessor" meant. "There 
are already sterling examples of dis- 
eases we can identify by their genetic 
signatures," states Hassler. "That list 
will grow steadily and in 10 years peo- 
ple will see practical results. Genetic 
counseling initially will be probabilis- 
tic — telling someone they have this 
great a chance of getting a particular 
disease by a particular age. As we get 
better at understanding what gene 
markers mean, we'll be able to give in- 
creasingly accurate predictions," 

But ethicisls and policymakers have 
long worried about the social impacts 
of the power to predict. The good news 
is medical insurance will be very cheap 

for some folks. The bad news is the ones 
who'll need it most are those for whom 
the price will be astronomical. As Has- 
sler explained, "The financial impact on 
society could be tremendous. Isolated 
instances already exist of people hav- 
ing insurance problems because of ge- 
netic indicators. These people could 
become part of a genetic underclass. If 
commercial companies refuse to insure 
people showing a strong likelihood of 
developing a particular condition, we 
might have to adopt some form of gov- 
ernment health care funding. If pnvate 
industry can't figure out an equitable 
way to blend higher and lower risks, 
the government becomes the insurer of 
last resort, and the only fair way to do it 
might be for everyone to pool the cost. 
"There are also indications that 
mental abilities, artistic talents, or phys- 
ical skills might be genetically influ- 
enced. One always wonders if the next 
Einstein is living in an obscure place 
where he or she won't get the opportu- 
nity to become the new Einstein 
Should we devise a way to genetically 

The second most influential technol- 
ogy on the list is super materials, 
specifically matrix materials and mole- 
cular composites. Chemist Dr Vince 
McGinniss explains the concept, "In 
matrix materials, manufactured fibers— 
carbon, glass, silicon carbide, or some 
high-strength metal — are embedded in 
a flowable ceramic or metal. Iviatrix ma- 
terials have tremendous strength, can 
stand up to intense heat, and are light- 
weight. The Air Force, the motivator be- 
hind matrix maiehals. is testing them in 
parts of jet engines, and other applica- 
tions. One Japanese car company has 
used matrix materials to reinforce cylinder 
wall linings. Matrix materials are finding 
their way into a few products now, and 
we'll see much more of them in the next 
few years. Today the process of manu- 
facturing matrix materials in quantity is 
still complex. Fibers thrown into a resin 
aren't happy So you have to treat them 
with special linking agents to hold them 
in the flowable matrix matenal. That in- 
terface is where the problems show 
up— stress or water comes in and breaks 

We can laugh and joke about 
the flip-up communicator on Star Trek, 

but technology seems to be 
moving very strongly in that direction. 

identify talent and direct people into 
particular pursuits to which they're ge- 
netically suited instead of adhering to 
the ethic that in the United States you 
can become whatever you want? If 
we're lucky we won't map the genome 
until we've figured out how to settle 
these issues, but technology always 
seems to move faster than politics," 

After counseling, the next applica- 
tion of genome technology will be diag- 
nostic techniques. "We're constantly 
discovering new substances in the body" 
says Hassler. "By knowing your level o 
a particular enzyme or other biochemt 
cal. doctors will be able to diagnose a 
particular condition. Eventually, from a 
blood or skin sample a doctor could 
tell you which diseases you're most 
likely to get. There's no reason why we 
couldn't see at-home diagnostic kits, 
although probably not by 2006. 

"A third area is genetic therapy and 
pharmaceuticals, which will evolve 
more slowly" continues Hassler "The 
process of infusing people with new 
genetic matenal is barely in its infancy, 
so much of the work that needs to be 
done will just be getting under way be- 
tween now and 2006." 

the fiber Because strength in matrix 
materials comes almost entirely from 
fiber and very little from surrounding 
material, you lose all the strength," 

Molecular composites, however, are 
more durable, In fact, according to 
McGinniss, "they're the next generation 
ol engineered materials. With matrix 
materials, we make two separate things 
and put them together In molecular 
composites, we design everything— 
the rigid, fiber-like segments, the flexible 
material— into one molecule. Polyethyl- 
ene is like that. Low molecular-weight 
polyethylene is an oil, a little higher 
weight gives you paraffin waxes; higher 
still and you have Baggies. Going 
higher, you get crystalline materials 
with fiber stronger than steel. That's 
what racing sails are made of. 

"Because a molecular composite is 
joined to itself, molecule by molecule, 
making something becomes a matter 
of arranging the microstructure. Using 
the computer to model the structure of 
specific molecules, we see how they 
can be joined to other molecules. As 
recently as three years ago, when a 
client asked us to engineer a new ma- 
terial, we'd head for the lab. Now we 

as television is allotted now. But Ihe 
FCC has ruled HDTV has to fit in the 
same airspace now occupied by con- 
ventional TV signals. To meet that re- 
quirement, researchers have developed 
a compression technique that cuts 
those billion bits by a factor of 60, 
Then, by modifying hardware, they've 
compressed the signal enough more to 
meet the FCC's mandate, 

"This is an incredibly oversimplified 
explanation," Ridgway states, "but if I 
transmit a picture of something that 
doesn't move — say, a flower— I only 
have to send it once. If I send a picture 
in which some parts are moving, I only 
have to send the picture parts that are 
changing. Things in a television picture 
usually move slowly enough that not 
every point in every picture has to 
change every microsecond. In tests, 
companies are now proving even 
things like sporting events and car 
races can be transmitted by HDTV," 

Ridgway has called HDTV "a break- 
through for American manufacturers. It 
gives the United States ihe chance to 
become the world's leading manufac- 
turer of electronics again," he believes. 
"More than 90 percent of U,S, homes 
have TV; only 30 percent have comput- 
ers. The United States continues to be 
the world leader in computers and soft- 
ware, and when you're talking about 
digital HDTV, you're talking computer 
and software technology" 

But many believe the Japanese 
have already left the United States be- 
hind in high-definition video. "The 
Japanese were among the first to pro- 
duce a high-definition TV system, but 
they made the decision early on to go 
witti analog technology — the same as 
today's TVs are based on," responds 
Ridgway "A group of U,S, companies, 
known as the Grand Alliance [including 
AT&T, Zenith, General Instruments, 
Philips of North America, and others], 
banded together in May 1993 to pur- 
sue a digital approach. Digital technol- 
ogy won out in FCC trials, and the 
Japanese withdrew their application to 
market analog HDTV in this country 

"Digital technologies continue to 
evolve and converge — the information 
highway fiber optics, and so on," ex- 
plains Ridgway, "and their merger is 
still In its infancy Eventually, you'll have 
a box in your home connected to the 
world, probably through an optical 
fiber. Instead of watching an HDTV 
show when it's broadcast, you might 
download it to watch later. Because the 
program's in digital iormat, it can be 
stored in digital form. If you want a vi- 
sual image in vastly more detail than 
the small, low-resolution VGA monitor 
your home computer can provide, you 

send the image to your digital HDTV for 
abetter look." 

"Most of us would love an affordable 
motion-picture screen in our house," 
adds Millett. "That alone would be a 
multibillion-dollar HDTV industry. But 
this technology also can have an enor- 
mous impact on the quality of big- 
screen movies or any display of 
enormous size, or great detail. Imagine 
all your family photos preserved forever 
in perfect clarity on one CD," 

When will consumers benefit from 
this new format? Ridgway calculates 
that "once the FCC defines the stan- 
dard set of technical specifications 
HDTV will be based on, companies in 
the Grand Alliance aren't going to sit 
around. We'll see the first consumer 

products in two or three years, but 
those early products will be expensive. 
You can't receive HDTV signals on the 
TV set you have now. Rather than sud- 
denly switch from one technology to 
the other, for some time both regular 
signals and HDTV will be broadcast. 
The shift from one kind of TV set to the 
other will be gradual. But by 2006, 
HDTV will be as common as CD play- 
ers and home computers are now," 

Fifth on the Top Ten list is the minia- 
turization of electronics. How small is 
small? As small as "a wireless, hand- 
held, interactive computer accessing 
and transmitting data at a distance," 
responds Millett. "We're getting close 
to the day when we can combine voice 

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The moon slips and shines in the 
wrinl^led mirror before the prow, 
and from the northern sl<y the 
Bright Companions shoot glancing 
arrows of light along the water. In 
the stern of the boat the polesman 
stands in the watchful solemnity of 
his task. His movements as he 
poles and steers the boat are slow, 
certain, august. The long, low 

Fiction by Ursula K. Le Guin 

Painting by Wendell Minor 

channelboat slides on the black 
water as silently as the reflection it 
pursues, A few dark figures huddle 
in it. One dark figure lies full length 
on the halfdeck, arms at his sides, 
closed eyes unseeing that other 
moon slipping and shining through 
wisps of fog in the luminous blue 
night sky. The Husbandman of 
Sandry is coming home from war. 



They had been waiting for him on Sandry Island ever since last spring, wiien 
he went with seven men, following the messengers who came to raise the 
Queen's army In midsummer four of the men of Sandry brought back the 
news that he was wounded and was lying in the care of the Queen's own 
physician. They told of his great valor in battle, and told of their own prowess 
too, and how they had won the war. Since then there had been no news. 

With him now in the channelboat were Itie three com- 
panions who had stayed with him, and a physician sent 
by the Queen, an assistant to her own doctor. This man, 
an active, slender person in his forties, cramped by the 
long night's travel, was quick to leap ashore when the 
boat slid silently up along the stone quay of Sandry Farm. 

While the boatmen and the others busied themselves 
making the boat fast and lifting the stretcher and its bur- 
den up from the boat to the quay, the doctor went on up 
io the house. Approaching the island, as the sky imper- 
ceptibly lightened from night-blue to colorless pallor, he 
had seen the spires of windmills, the crowns of trees, and 
the roofs of the house, all in black silhouette, standing very 
high after the miles of endlessly level reedbeds and wa- 
terchannels. "Hello, the people!" he called out as he en- 
tered the courtyard, "Wake up! Sandry has come home!" 

The kitchen was astir already. Lights sprang up else- 
where in the big house. The doctor heard voices, doors, 
A stableboy came vaulting out of the loft where he had 
slept, a dog barked and barked its tardy warning, people 
began to come out of the housedoor. As the stretcher 
was borne into the courtyard, the Farmwife came hurrying 
out, wrapped in a green cloak that hid her nightdress, her 
hair loose, her feet bare on the stones. She ran to the 
stretcher as ihey set it down. "Farre, Farre," she said, 
kneeling, bending over the still figure. No one spoke or 
moved in that moment. "He is dead," she said in a whis- 
per, drawing back. 

"He is alive," the doctor said. And the oldest of the lit- 
terbearers, Pask the saddler, said in his rumbling bass, 
"He lives, Makali-dem. But the wound was deep." 

The doctor looked with pity and respect 
al the Farmwife, at her bare feet and 
her clear, bewildered eyes, "Dema," 
he said, "let us bring 
him in to the warmth." 

"Yes, yes," she said, 
rising and running ahead to prepare. 

When the stretcherbearers came out again, half the 
people of Sandry were in the courtyard waiting to hear their 
news. Most of all they looked to old Pask when he came 
out, and he looked at them all. He was a big, slow man, 
girthed like an oak, with a stiff face set in deep lines. "Will 
he live?" a woman ventured. Pask continued looking them 
all over until he chose to speak. "We'll plant him," he said, 
"Ah, ah!" the woman cried, and a groan and sigh went 
among them all. 

"And our grandchildren's children will know his name," 
said Dyadi, Pask's wife, bosoming through the crowd to 
her husband. "Hello, old man." 

"Hello, old woman," Pask said They eyed each other 
from an equal height. 

"Still walking, are you?" she said, 
"How else get back where I belong?" Pask said. His 
mouth was too set in a straight line to smile, but his eyes 
glinted a little. 

"Took your time doing it. Come on, old man. You must 
be perishing." They strode off side by side toward the 
lane that led to the saddlery and paddocks. The court- 
yard buzzed on, all in low-voiced groups around the 
other two returned men, getting and giving the news of 
the wars, the city, the marsh isles, the farm. 

Indoors, in the beautiful high shadowy room where 
Farre now lay in the bed still warm from his wife's sleep, 
the physician stood by the bedside, as grave, intent, 
careful as the polesman had stood in the stern of the 
channelboat. He watched the wounded man, his fingers 
on the pulse. The room was perfectly still. 

The woman stood at the foot of the bed, and 
presently he turned to her and gave a 
quiet nod that said. Very well, as well 
can be expected. 

"He seems scarcely to 

breathe," she whispered. 

Her eyes looked large in her face 

knotted and clenched with anxiety. 

"He's breathing," the escort assured 
her. "Slow and deep. Dema, my name 
js Hamid, assistant to the Queen's 
physician, Dr. Saker. Her majesty and 
the Doctor, who had your husband in 
his care, desired me to come with him 
and slay here as long as I am needed, 
to give what care I can, Her majesty 
charged me to tell you that she is 
grateful for his sacrifice, that she hon- 
ors his courage in her service. She will 
do what may be done to prove that 
gratitude and to show that honor. And 
still she bade me tell you that whatever 
may be done will fall short of his due," 

"Thank you," said the Farmwife, per- 
haps only partly understanding, gaiing 
only at the set, still face on the pillow. 
She was trembling a little, 

"You're cold, dema," Hamid said 
gently and respectfully "You should get 

"Is he warm enough? Was he chilled, 
in the boat? I can have the fire laid — " 

"No. He's warm enough. It's you I 
speak of, dema." 

She glanced at him a little wildly as 
if seeing him that moment. "Yes," she 
said. "Thank you," 

"I'll come back in a little while," he 
said, laid his hand on his heart, and 
quietly went out, closing the massive 
door behind him. 

He went across to the kitchen wing 
and demanded food and drink for a 
starving man, a thirsty man leg- 
cramped from crouching in a damned 
boat all night. He was not shy, and was 
used to the authority of his calling. It 
had been a long journey overland from 
the city, and then poling through the 
marshes, with Broad Isle the only hos- 
pitable piace to stop among the end- 
less channels, and the sun beating 
down all day, and then the long dream- 
like discomfod of the night. He made 
much of his hunger and travail to 
amuse his hosts and to divert them, 
too, from asking questions about how 
the Husbandman did and would do. 
He did not want to tell them more than 
the man's wife knew. 

But they, discreet or knowing or re- 
spectful, asked no direct questions of 
him. Though their concern for Farre 
was plain, they asked only, by various 
indirections, if he was sure lo live, and 
seemed satisfied by that assurance. In 
some faces Hamid thought he saw a 
glimpse of something beyond satisfac- 
tion: a brooding acceptance in one; an 
almost conniving intelligence in an- 
other. One young fellow blurted out, 
"Then will he be—" and shut his mouth, 
under the joined stares of five or six 
older people. They were a trapmouthed 
lot, the Sandry Islanders. AH that were 
not actively young looked old: seamed. 

weatherbeaten, brown skin wrinkled 
and silvery hands gnarled, hair thick, 
coarse, and dry. Only their eyes were 
quick, observant. And some of them 
had eyes of an unusual color, like 
amber; Pask, his wife Dyadi, and sev- 
eral others, as well as Farre himself. 
The first time Hamid had seen Farre, 
before the coma deepened, he had 
been struck by the strong features and 
those lighl, clear eyes. They all spoke a 
strong dialect, but Hamid had grown 
up not far inland from the marshes, and 
anyhow had an ear for dialects. By the 
end of his large and satisfying break- 
fast he was glottal-stopping with the 
best of them. 

He returned to the great bedroom 
with a well-loaded tray As he had ex- 
pected, the Farmwife, dressed and 
shod, was sitting close beside the bed, 
her hand lying lightly on her husband's 
hand. She looked up at Hamid politely 
but as an intruder, please be quiet, 
don't interrupt us, make him be well 
and go away . . . Hamid had no par- 
ticular eye for beauty in women, per- 

breakfast. Along with your daughter, 
who must be hungry, too." 

She introduced the child, Idi, a girl 
of five or six, who clapped her hand on 
her heart and whispered "Give-you- 
good-day-dema" all in one glottal- 
stopped word before she shrank back 
behind her mother 

It is pleasant to be a physician and be 
obeyed, Hamid reflected, as the Farm- 
wife and her child, large and little im- 
ages of each other in Iheir shirts and 
full trousers and silken braided hair, sat 
at the table where he had put the tray 
down and meekly ate the breakfast he 
had broughl. He was charmed to see 
that between them they left not a crumb. 

When Makali rose her face had lost 
the knotted look, and her dark eyes, 
though still large and still concerned, 
were tranquil. She has a peaceful 
heart, he thought. At the same moment 
his physician's eye caught the signs; 
she was pregnant, probably about 
three months along. She whispered to 
the child, who trotted away She came 
back to the chair at the bedside, which 

She was fully alive. She was as tender 
and powerful as a red-deer doe, 
as unconsciously splendid. And he won- 
dered if there were fawns. 

haps having seen beauty too often at 
too shod a distance, where it dissolves; 
but he responded to a woman's health, 
to the firm sweet flesh, the quiver and 
vigor of full life. And she was fully alive. 
She was as tender and powerful as a 
red-deer doe, as unconsciously splen- 
did. He wondered if there were fawns, 
and then saw the child standing be- 
hind her chair. The room, its shutters 
closed, was all shadow with a spatter 
and dappling of broken light across the 
islands of heavy furniture, the foot- 
board of the bed, the folds of the cov- 
erlet, the child's face and dark eyes. 

"Hamid-dem," the Farmwife said— 
despite her absorption in her husband 
she had caught his name, then, with the 
desperate keen hearing of the sickroom, 
where every word carries hope or 
doom—"! still cannot see him breathe." 

"Lay your ear against his chest," he 
said, in a tone deliberately louder than 
her whisper. "You'll hear the heart beat, 
and feel the lungs expand. Though 
slowly, as I said. Dema, I brought this 
for you. Now you'll sit here, see, at this 
table. A little more light, a shutter open, 
so. It won't disturb him, not at all. Light 
is good. You are to sit here and eat 

he had already relinquished. 

"I am going to examine and dress 
his wound," Hamid said. "Will you 
watch, dema, or come back?" 

"Watch," she said. 

"Good," he said. Taking off hts coat, 
he asked her to have hot water sent in 
from the kitchen. 

"We have it piped," she said, and 
went to a door in the farthest shadowy 
corner. He had not expected such an 
amenity. Yet he knew that some of 
these island farms were very ancient 
places of civilization, drawing tor their 
comfort and provision on inexhaustible 
sun, wind, and tide, settled in a way of 
life as immemorial as that of their plow- 
lands and pastures, as full and secure. 
Not the show-wealth of the city, but the 
deep richness of the land, was in the 
steaming pitcher she brought him, and 
in the woman who brought if. 

"You don't need it boiling?" she 
asked, and he said, "This is what I want," 

She was quick and steady, relieved 
to have a duty, to be of use. When he 
bared the great sword-wound across 
her husband's abdomen he glanced 
up at her to see how she took it. Com- 
pressed lips, a steady gaze. 

"This," he said, his fingers above 
the long, dark, unhealed gash, "looks 
the worst; but this, here, is the worst. 
Thai is superficial, a mere slash as the 
sword withdrew But here, it went in, 
and deep." He probed the wound. 
There was no shrinking or quiver in the 
man's body; he lay insensible, "The 
sword withdrew," Hamid went on, "as 
the swordsman died. Your husband 
killed him even as he struck. And took 
the sword from him. When his men 
came around him he was holding it in 
his left hand and his own sword in his 
right, though he could not rise from his 
knees. . . . Both those swords came 
here with us, , . . There, you see? 
That was a deep thrust. And a wide 
blade. That was nearly a deathblow. 
But not quite, not quite. Though to be 
sure, (t look its loll." He looked up al 
her openly hoping she would meet his 
eyes, hoping lo receive from her the 
glance of acceptance, intelligence, 
recognition that he had seen in this 
face and that among Sandry's people. 
But her eyes were on the purple 

locked room. Closing her ears in case 
the word is spoken. 

He found he had taken a deep 
breath and was holding it. He wished 
the Farmwife were older, tougher, that 
she loved her farmer less. He wished 
he knew what the truth was, and that 
he need not be the one to speak it. 

But on an utterly unexpected im- 
pulse, he spoke: "It is not death," he 
said, very low, almost pleading. 

She merely nodded, watching. 
When he reached for a clean cloth, she 
had it ready to his hand. 

As a physician, he asked her of her 
pregnancy She was well, all was well. 
He ordered her to walk daily, to be two 
hours out of the sickroom in the open 
air He wished he might go with her, for 
he liked her and it would have been a 
pleasure to walk beside her, watching 
her go along tall and lithe and robust. 
But if she was to leave Farre's side for 
two hours, he was to replace her there; 
that was simply understood. He 
obeyed her implicit orders as she 
obeyed his explicit ones. 

His eyes never opened. Once or twice, 
she said, in the night, he had 

moved a little. Hamid had not seen him 
make any movement for days. 

and livid wound, and her face was 
simply intent. 

"Was it wise to move him, carry him 
so far?" she asked, not questioning his 
judgment, but in wonder, 

"The Doctor said it would do him no 
harm," Hamid said. "And it has done 
none. The fever is gone, as it has been 
for nine days now," She nodded, for 
she had tell how cool Farre's skin was. 
"The inflammation of the wound is, if 
anything, less than it was two days 
ago. The pulse and breath are strong 
and steady This was the place for him 
to be, dema," 

"Yes," she said, "Thank you. Thank 
you, Hamid-dem.° Her clear eyes 
looked into his for a moment before re- 
turning to the wound, the motionless, 
muscular body, the silent face, the 
closed eyelids. 

Surely Hamid thought, surely if it 
were true she'd know it! She couldn't 
have married the man not knowing! But 
she says nothing. So it's not true, it's 
only a story. . . . But this thought, 
which gave him a tremendous relief for 
a moment, gave way to another; She 
knows and is hiding from the knowl- 
edge. Shutting the shadow into the 

52 OMNI 

His own freedom was considerable, 
for she spent most of the day in the 
sickroom, and there was no use his 
being there, too, little use his being 
there at all, in fact. Farre needed noth- 
ing from him or her or anyone, aside 
from the little nourishment he took. 
Twice a day with infinite patience, she 
contrived to feed him ten or a dozen 
sips of Dr. Saker's rich brew of meat 
and herbs and medicines, which 
Hamid concocted and strained dally in 
the kitchen with the cooks' interested 
aid. Aside from those two halfhours, 
and once a day the bed-jar for a few 
drops of urine, there was nothing to be 
done. No chafing or sores developed 
on Farre's skin. He lay unmoving, 
showing no discomfort. His eyes never 
opened. Once or twice, she said, in the 
night, he had moved a Utile, shud- 
dered. Hamid had not seen him make 
any movement for days. 

Surely if there was any truth in the 
old book Dr. Saker had shown him and 
in Pask's unwilling and enigmatic hints 
of confirmation, fvlakali would know? 
But she said never a word, and il was 
too late now tor him lo ask. He had lost 
his chance. And if he could not speak 

lo her, he would not go behind her 
back, asking the others if there was 
any truth in this tale. 

Of course there isn't, he told his 
conscience, A myth, a rumor, a folktale 
of the 'Old Islanders' . . . and the word 
of an ignorant man, a saddler. . . . Su- 
perstition! What do I see when I look at 
my patient? A deep coma, A deep, 
restorative coma. Unusual, yes, but not 
abnormal, not uncanny Perhaps such 
a coma, a very long vegetative period 
of recovery, common lo these is- 
landers, an inbred people, would be 
the origin of the myth, much exagger- 
ated, made fanciful, . . . 

They were a healthy lot, and though 
he offered his services he had little to 
do once he had reset a boy's badly 
splinted arm and scraped out an old 
fellow's leg abscesses. Sometimes little 
Idi tagged after him. Clearly she 
adored her father and missed his com- 
pany. She never asked, "Will he get 
well," but Hamid had seen her 
crouched al the bedside, quite still, her 
cheek against Farre's unresponding 
hand. Touched by the child's dignity, 
Hamid asked her what games she and 
her father had played. She though! a 
long time before she said, "He would 
tell me what he was doing and some- 
limes I could help." Evidently she had 
simply followed Farre In his daily round 
of farmwork and management. Hamid 
provided only an unsaiisfactory, fhvo- 
lous substitute. She would listen to his 
tales of the court and city for a while, 
not very interested, and scon would 
run off to her own small, serious duties. 
Hamid grew restive under the burden 
of being useless. 

He found walking soothed him, and 
went almost daily on a favorite circuit; 
down to the quay and along the dunes 
to the southeast end of the island, from 
which he first saw the open sea, free at 
last of the whispering green levels of 
the reedbeds. Then up the steepest 
slope on Sandry, a low hill of worn 
granite and sparse earth, for the view 
of sea and tidal dams, island fields and 
green marshes from its summit, where 
a cluster of windmills caught the sea 
wind with slender vanes. Then down 
the slope past the trees, the Old Grove, 
to the farmhouse. There were a couple 
of dozen houses in sight from Sandry 
Hill, but 'the farmhouse' was the only 
one so called, as its owner was called 
the Husbandman, or Farmer Sandry or 
simply Sandry if he was away from the 
island. And nothing would keep an Is- 
lander away from his island but his 
duty lo Ihe crown. Rooted folk, Hamid 
thought wryly standing in the lane near 
the Old Grove to look at the trees 

Elsewhere on the island, indeed on 

all the islands, there were no trees to 
speak of. Scrub willows down along 
the streams, a few orchards of wind- 
dwarfed, straggling apples. But here in 
the Grove were great trees, some with 
mighty trunks, surely hundreds of years 
old, and none of them less than eight 
or ten times a man's height, They did 
not crowd together but grew widely 
spaced, each spreading its limbs and 
crown broadly, in the spacious aisles 
under them grew a few shrubs and 
ferns and a thin, soft, pleasant grass. 
Their shade was beautiful on these hot 
summer days when the sun glared off 
the sea and the channels and the sea 
wind scarcely stirred the fiery air. But 
Hamid did not go under the trees. He 
stood in the lane, looking al that shade 
under the heavy foliage. 

Not far from the lane he could see in 
the grove a sunny gap where an old 
tree had come down, perishing in a 
winter gale maybe a century ago. for 
nothing was left of the fallen trunk but a 
grassy hummock a lew yards long. No 
sapling had sprung up or been planted 
to replace the old tree, only a wild rose, 
rejoicing in the light, flowered thornily 
over the rum of ils stump. 

Hamid walked on. gazing ahead al 
the house he now knew so well, the 
massive slate roofs, the shuttered win- 

dow of the room where Makali was sit- 
ting beside her husband, waiting for 
him to wake. 

"Makali, Makali," he said under his 
breath, grieving for her, angry with her, 
angry with himself, sorry for himself, lis- 
tening to the sound of her name. 

The room was dark to his still sun- 
bedazzled eyes, but he went to his pa- 
tient with a certain decisiveness, 
almost abruptness, and turned back 
the sheet. He palpated, auscultated, 
look the pulse. "His breathing has 
been harsh." Makali murmured. 

"He's dehydrated. Needs water" 

She rose to fetch the little silver bowl 
and spoon she used to feed him his 
soup and water, but Hamid shook his 
head. The picture in Dr. Baker's ancient 
book was vivid in his mind, a woodcut, 
showing exactly what must be done— 
what must be done, that is. if one be- 
lieved this myth, which he did not, nor 
did Makali, or she would surely have 
said something by now! And yet, there 
was nothing else to be done. Farre's 
face was sunken, his hair came loose 
at a touch. He was dying, very slowly, 
of thirst, 

"The bed must be tipped, so that his 
head is high, his feel low," Hamid said 
authonlatively "The easiest way will be 
to take off the footboard Tebra will give 

me a hand." She went out and returned 
with the yardman. Tebra, and with him 
Hamid briskly set about the business. 
They got the bed fixed at such a slant 
that he had to put a webbing strap 
round Farre's chest to keep him from 
sliding quite down. He asked Makali for 
a waterproof sheet or cape. Then, 
fetching a deep copper basin from the 
kitchen, he filled it with cold water. He 
spread the sheet of oilskin she had 
brought under Farre's legs and feet, 
and propped the basin in an over- 
turned footstool so that it held steady 
as he laid Farre's feet in the water. 

"It must be kept full enough that his 
soles touch the water, ' he said to Makali, 

"It will keep him cool," she said, ask- 
ing, uncertain. Hamid did not answer. 

Her troubled, frightened look en- 
raged him. He left the room without 
saying more. 

When he returned in the evening 
she said, "His breathing is much easier," 

No doubt, Hamid thought, auscultat- 
ing, now thai he breathes once a 

"Hamid-dem." she said, "fhere 
is . . . something I noticed. . . ." 


She heard his ironic, hostile tone, as 
he did, Bolh winced. But she was 
started, had begun to speak, could 


I N 

l/espite conjecture, most ornithalojisti 
acrce that the probcUe ccuse of the extinction 
of the rock-ncstias red-credeJ eahhiit 
icht he </«<? in pcA to the hire's precai-tous 

Just cs the others rejiied thd Dr. Bofd 
uiS «« imposter, the fraudulent plipicicn 
discovered thai you do hc^ve to he « 
hrdn surceon to perform hnin surcery. 


only go on. 

"His . , ," She started again. "It 
seemed . . .'" She drew the sheet down 
farttier, exposing Farre's genjtais. 

Tine penis lay aimost indistinguish- 
abie from the testicles and the brawn, 
grained skin of ttie inner groin, as if it 
had sunk into them, as if ali were re- 
turning to an indistinguishable unity, a 
featureless soiidJty. 

"Yes," Hamid said, expressionless, 
stiocked in spite of himself. "The ... the 
process is following . . , what is said to 
be its course." 

She looked at him across her hus- 
band's body. "But — Can't you — T 

He stood silent a while. "It seems 
that — My information is that in these 
cases — a very grave shock to the sys- 
tem, to the body," — he paused, trying 
to find words — "such as an injury or a 
great loss, a grief — but in this case, an 
injury, an almost fatal wound — A 
wound that almost certainly would have 
been fatal, had not it inaugurated 
the . . , the process in question, the in- 
herited capacity . , , propensity ..." 

She stood still, still gazing straight at 
him, so that all the big words shrank to 
nothing in his mouth, He stooped and 
with his deft, professional gentleness 
opened Farre's closed eyelid. "Look'" 
he said. She too stooped to look, to 

see the blind eye exposed, without 
pupil, iris, or white, a polished, feature- 
less, brown bead. 

When her indrawn breath was re- 
peated and again repeated in a drag- 
ging sob, Hamid burst out at last, "But 
you knew, surely! You knew when you 
married him." 

"Knew," said her dreadful indrawn 

The hair stood up on Hamid's arms 
and scalp. He could not look at her. He 
lowered the eyelid, thin and stiff as a 
dry leaf. 

She turned away and walked slowly 
across the long room into the shadows. 

"They laugh about it," said the 
deep, dry voice he had never heard, 
out of the shadows. "On the land, in the 
city people laugh about it, don't they 
They talk about the wooden men, the 
blockheads, the Old Islanders They don't 
laugh about it here. When he married 
me — " She turned to face Hamid. step- 
ping into the shaft of warm twilight from 
the one unshuttered window so that her 
clothing glimmered white. "When Farre 
of Sandry Farre Older courted me and 
married me, on the Broad Isle where I 
lived, the people there said don't do it 
to me, and the people here said don't 
do /f to him, Marry your own kind, 
marry In your own kind. But what did 

we care for that? He didn't care and I 
didn't care. I didn't believe' I wouldnt 
believe! But I came here — Those 
trees, the Grove, the older Ireps- 
you've been there, you've seen them 
Do you know they have names?" She 
stopped, and the dragging, gasping 
indrawn sob began again. She look 
hold ot a chairback and stood racking 
It back and forth. "He took mp there 
'That is my grandfather.'" she said in a 
hoarse, jeering gasp. '"That's Aita, my 
mother's grandmother. Doran-dem has 
stood four hundred years," 
Her voice failed. 

"We don't laugh about it " Hamid 
said. "It IS a tale — something thai might 
be Irue^a mystery. Who they are, 
the . . , the ciders, what makes them 
change . . . how ft happens Dr Sake; 
sent me here not only to be of use but 
to learn, To verify ... the process " 
"The process," Makali said 
She came back to the bedside, fan 
ing him across it, across the stift hodv 
the log in the bed, 

"What am I carrying here''' she 
asked, soft and hoarse, her hands on 
her belly 

"A child," Hamid said, without fipsi 
taling and clearly 
"What kind of child''" 
"Does it matter?" 
She said nothing. 

"His child, your child, as your 
daughter is. Do you know what kind of 
child Idi is?" 

After a while Makali said softly, "I ik^ 
me. She does not have the amber eye"; ' 
"Would you care less for her if she 

"No," she said. 

She stood silent. She looked down 
at her husband, then toward the wm 
dows, then straight at Hamid 
"You came to learn," she said 
"Yes, And to give what help I (:»n 

She nodded. "Thank you. " she said 
He laid his hand a moment on his 

She sal down in her usual place be 
side the bed with a deep, very quief 
breath, too quiet to be a sigh 

Hamid opened his mouth. "He's 
blind, deaf, without feeling. He doesn't 
know if you're there or not there. He's a 
log, a block, you need not keep Ihis 
vigil!" All these words said themselves 
aloud in his mind, but he did not speak 
one of them. He closed his mouth and 
stood silent. 

"How long''" she asked m her usual 
soft voice. 

"I don't know. That change . came 
quickly. Maybe not long now " 

She nodded. She laid her hand on 
her husband's hand, her light warm 


louch on ths hard bones under hard 
skin, the long, strong, molionless fin- 
gers "Once," she said, "he showed me 
the stump of one of the olders, one that 
tell down a long time ago." 

Hamid nodded, thinking of the sunny 
clearing in the grove, the wild rose. 

"It fiad broken right across in a 
great storm, the trunk had been rotten. 
It was old, ancient, they weren't sure 
even who ... the name . . . hundreds 
of years old. The roots were still in the 
ground but the trunk was rotten. So it 
broke right across in the gale. But the 
stump was still there in the ground. And 
you could see. He showed me." After a 
pause she said, "You could see the 
bones. The leg bones. In the trunk of 
the tree. Like pieces of ivory. Inside it. 
Broken off with it." After another silence, 
she said, "So they do die. Finally " 

Hamid nodded. 

Silence again. Though he listened and 
watched almost automatically, Hamid 
did not see Farre's chest rise or fall. 

"You may go whenever you like, 
Hamid-dem," she said gently. "I'm all 
right now. Thank you." 

He went to his room. On the table, 
under Ihe lamp when he lighted it, lay 
some leaves. He had picked them up 
from the border of the lane that went by 
the grove, the grove of the older trees. 

A few dry leaves, a twig What their blos- 
som was, their fruit, he did not know. It 
was summer, between the flower and 
the seed. And he dared not take a 
branch, a twig, a leaf from the living tree. 

When he joined the people of the 
farm for supper, old Pask was there. 

"Doctor-dem," the saddler said in 
his rumbling bass, "is he turning?" 

"Yes," Hamid said. 

"So youYe giving him water?" 


"You must give him water, dema," 
the old man said, relentless. "She 
doesn't know. She's not his kind. She 
doesn't know his needs." 

"But she bears his seed," said 
Hamid, grinning suddenly, fiercely, at 
the old man. 

Pask did not smile or make any 
sign, his stiff face impassive. He said, 
"Yes. The girl's not, but the other may 
be older." And he turned away. 

Next morning after he had sent Makali 
out for her walk, Hamid studied Farre's 
feet. They were extended fully into the 
water, as il he had stretched downward 
to it, and [he skin looked softer. The 
long brown toes stretched apart a little. 
And his hands, still motionless, 
seemed longer, the fingers knotted as 
with arthritis yet powerful, lying spread 
on the coverlet at his sides. 

Makali came back ruddy and 
sweaty from her walk in the summer 
morning. Her vitality, her vulnerability 
were infinitely moving and pathetic to 
Hamid after his long contemplation of a 
slow, inexorable toughening, harden- 
ing, withdrawal. He said, "Makali-dem, 
there is no need for you to be here all 
day. There is nothing to do for him but 
keep Ihe water-basin full." 

"So it means nothing to him that I sit 
by him," she said, half questioning half 

"I think It does nol. Nol any more." 

She nodded. 

Her gallantry touched him. He longed 
to help her. "Dema, did he, did anyone 
ever speak to you about — if this should 
happen — There may be ways we can 
ease the change, things that are tradi- 
tionally done — I don't know them. Are 
there people here whom I might ask — 
Pask and Dyadi — ?" 

"Oh, they'll know what to do when 
the time comes," she said, with an 
edge in her voice. "They'll see to it that 
it's done right. The right way, the old 
way, You don't have to worry about 
Ihat. The doctor doesn't have to bury 
his patient, after all. The gravediggers 
do that." 

"He is nol dead." 

"No, Only blind and deaf and dumb 

and doesn't know if I'm in the room or a 
hundred miles away." She looked up at 
Hamid, a gaze wtiich for some reason 
embarrassed him, "If I stuck a knife in 
f)is hand would he feel it?" she asked, 

He chose lo take Ihe question as 
one of curiosity, desire to know. "The 
response to any stimulus has grown 
steadily less," he said, "and in the last 
few days it has disappeared. That is, 
response to any stimulus I've offered." 
He took up Farre's whst and pinched it 
as hard as he could, though Ihe skin 
was so lough now and the flesh so dry 
thai he had difficulty doing so. 

She watched. "He was ticklish," she 
said. Hamid shook his head. He 
touched the sole of ihe long brown fool 
that rested in the basin of water; there 
was no withdrawal, no response at all, 

"So he feels nothing. Nothing hurts 
him," she said. 

"I think not." 

"Lucky him." 

Embarrassed again, Hamid bent 
down to study the wound. He had left 
off Ihe bandages, tor Ihe slash had 

Hamid went oui of the house and 
walked his circuit, went to his own 
room to read. Late in the afternoon he 
went lo the sickroom. No one was there 
with Farre. He pulled out the chair she 
had sal in so many days and nights 
and sat down. The shadowy silence of 
Ihe room soothed his mind, A healing 
was occurring here: a strange healing, 
a mystery, frightening, but real. Farre 
had traveled from mortal injury and 
pain to this quietness; had turned from 
death to this different, this other life, 
this older life. Was there any wrong in 
that? Only that he wronged her in leav- 
ing her behind, and he must have done 
that, and more cruelly, if he had died. 

Or was the cruelty in his not dying? 

Hamid was still there pondering, 
half asleep in Ihe Iwilit serenity of Ihe 
room, when Makali came in quietly and 
lighted a dim lamp. She wore a loose, 
light shirt that showed the movement of 
her full breasts, and her gauze trousers 
were gathered at the ankle above her 
bare feet: it was a hoi night, sultry, the 
air stagnant on the salt marshes and 

The slash had dosed, leaving a clean 
seam, and the deep gash had developed 

a tough lip all around it, a barky 
ring well on the way to sealing it shut. 

closed, leaving a clean seam, and Ihe 
deep gash had developed a tough lip 
all round it, a barky ring that was well 
on the way lo sealing It shut. 

"I could carve my name on him," 
iviakali said, leaning close to Hamid, 
and then she bent down over the inert 
body, kissing and stroking and holding 
it, her tears running down. 

When she had wept a while, Hamid 
went to call the women of the house- 
hold, and they came gathering round 
her full of solace and took her off to an- 
other room. Left alone, Hamid drew the 
sheel back up over Farre's chest; he 
felt a satisfaction in her having wept at 
last, having broken down. Tears were 
the natural reaction, and the necessary 
one. A woman clears her mind by 
weeping, a woman had told him once. 

He flicked his thumbnail hard against 
Farre's shoulder. It was like flicking the 
headboard, ihe night table — his nail 
stung for a momenl. He felt a surge of 
anger against his patient, no patient, 
no man al all, not any more. 

Was his own mind clear? Why was 
he angry with Farre? Could the man 
help being what he was, or what he 
was becoming? 

56 OMNI 

the sandy fields of the island. She 
came around the bedstead. Hamid 
started to get up. 

"No, no, stay. I'm sorry, Hamid-dem. 
Forgive me. Don't get up. I only wanted 
to apologize for behaving like a child." 

"Grief must find its way out," he said. 

"1 hate to cry. Tears empty me. And 
pregnancy makes one cry over nothing." 

"This is a griefworth crying for, dema." 

"Oh, yes," she said. "If we had 
loved each other. Then I might have 
cried that basin full." She spoke with a 
hard lightness. "But that was over 
years ago. He went off to the war to get 
away from me. This child I carry, it isn't 
his. He was always cold, always slow. 
Always what he is now." She looked 
down at the figure in the bed with a 
quick, strange, challenging glance. 

"They were hght," she said, "half- 
alive shouldn't marry the living. If your 
wife was a stick, was a stump, a lump 
of wood, wouldn't you seek some 
friend of flesh and blood? Wouldn't you 
seek the love of your own kind?" 

As she spoke she came nearer to 
Hamid, very near, stooping over him. Her 
closeness, the movement of her cloth- 
ing, the warmth and smell of her body. 

filled his world suddenly and entirely, 
and when she laid her hands on his 
shoulders he reached up to her, sink- 
ing upward into her, pulling her down 
onto him to drink her body with his 
mouth, to impale her heavy softness on 
the aching point of his desire, so lost in 
her that she had pulled away from him 
before he knew it She was turning from 
him, turning to the bed, where with a 
long, creaking groan the stiff body 
trembled and shook, trying to bend, to 
rise, and the round blank balls of the 
eyes stared out under lifted eyelids. 

"Therel" IVlakali cried, breaking free 
of Hamid's hold, standing triumphant. 

The stiff half-lifted arms, the out- 
spread fingers trembled like branches 
in the wind. No more than that. Again 
the deep, cracking, creaking groan from 
within the rigid body. She huddled up 
against it on the tilted bed, stroking the 
face and kissing the unblinking eyes, 
the lips, the breast, the scarred belly, 
the lump between the joined, grown-to- 
gelher legs. "Go back now," she mur- 
mured, "go back to sleep. Go back, my 
dear, my own, my love, go back now, 
now I know, now I know. , . ." 

Hamid broke from his paralysis and 
left the room, the house, striding blindly 
out into the luminous midsummer night. 
He was very angry with her, for using 
him; presently with himself, for being 
usable. His outrage began to die away 
as he walked. Stopping, seeing where 
he was, he gave a short, rueful, startled 
laugh. He had gone astray off the lane, 
following a path thai led right into the 
Old Grove, a path he had never taken 
before. All around him, near and far, 
the huge trunks of the trees were al- 
most invisible under the massive dark- 
ness of their crowns. Here and there 
the moonlight struck through the fo- 
liage, making the edges of the leaves 
silver, pooling like quicksilver in the 
grass. It was cool under the older 
trees, windless, perfectly silent. 

Hamid shivered. "He'll be with you 
soon," he said to the thick-bodied, 
huge-armed, deep-rooted, dark pres- 
ences. "Pask and the others know what 
to do. He'll be here soon. And she'll 
come here with the baby, summer af- 
ternoons, and sit in his shade, iviaybe 
she'll be buried here. At his roots. But I 
am not staying here." He was walking 
as he spoke, back toward the farm- 
house and the quay and the channels 
through the reeds and the roads that 
led inland, north, away. "If you don't 
mind, I'm on my way, right away. . . ." 

The olders stood unmoved as he 
hurried out from under them and strode 
down ihe lane, a dwindling figure, too 
slight, too quick to be noticed. DO 



• ■ "^ 


■ . .- . •• • 


TAG E 58 

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I'ACil. (>5 





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lYI: IN Tin SKY: 


wonns AN 


Caiherine just can't explain 
il. She has no idea why she 
felt so compelled to keep 
on driving thai night after 
leaving the Boston night- 
club where she worked as 
a receptionist. It was after 
midnight and she had driv- 
en past Somerville, where 
she lives. Nor does she 
know why she got off the 
highway about 10 miles to 
the north, or why she drove 
around Saugus and mo- 
mentarily got lost in a 
wooded area. But after 
finding her way out, she 
noted that it was 2:45 in the 
morning — at least 45 min- 
utes later than it should 
have been. 

Feeling anxious, she 
raced back home, The next 
day, on local news, she 
learned that dozens of peo- 
ple throughout the North- 
east had reported a UFO, 
including a policeman and 
his wife who had seen an 
object stop overhead and 
shine a light on them. As- 
tronomers said the object 
was a shooting star, 

A few weeks later, 
Catherine decided to con- 
tact Harvard psychiatrist 
John Mack, author of the 
1977 Pulitzer Prize-winning 
biographyof T E. Lawrence 
and known most recently 
for his outspoken interest in 
the UFO abduction phe- 
nomenon. In a series of hyp- 
notic regression sessions,. 
Mack helped Catherine un- 
lock a lifetime of apparent 
abduction memories, be- 
ginning at the age of three 
and culminating in that 














murky night just weeks be- 
fore at the age of 22 

Catherine did not enjoy 
finding out what had hap- 
pened to her in the woods 
on the night of March 6, 
1991. "I don't want to be 
there," a very frightened 
Catherine told Mack while 
under hypnosis. "I want to 
drive out" 

But she could not Her 
car had apparently come to 
a stop and her body had 
gone numb. Then suddenly 
her door had opened, "There 
is a hand reaching out to 
get me," Catherine recalled, 
"It's long and Ihin and it's 
only got three fingers." A 
being with huge, black, al- 
mond-shaped eyes then 
took her from the car, and 
the two of them were swept 
up in a beam toward a 
huge metallic ship. 

The alien abductor, the 
story goes, then took 
Catherine inside, into a hall- 
way, where four other be- 
ings were waiting. When 
they began pulling at her 
clothes, she got annoyed. 
"Slop it," she recalled think- 
ing. "I'm perfectly capable 
of doing this myself, thank 
you." Once naked, Cather- 
ine was led into an enor- 
mous room "the size of an 
airplane hangar." 

She saw rows and rows 
Of tables everywhere. "There 
are hundreds of humans in 
here," she told Mack under 
hypnosis, "And they're all 
having things done to 
them." The rows were about 
five feet apart, she noted, 
and anywhere from a third 

to half the tables had hu- 
mans on them. She esti- 
mates there were between 
100 and 200 people in that 
room. But in the mass of 
bodies and blank faces she 
remembers one of them 
specifically — the one on 
the table to her left. He was 
a black man with a beard 

Catherine was forced to 
sit up on her table and the 
beings then began running 
their fingers down her 
spine. The terrifying exami- 
nation had begun. 

The rest of Catherine's 
traumatic UFO experience 
appears in John Mack's con- 
troversial book. Abduction: 
Human Encounters with 
Mens, and is rather typical 
of such stones, Bui one de- 
tail in her story stands out 
like a Gulliver in Lilliput — 
that bit about the hundreds 
of other humans she saw 
aboard the alien craft that 
night. And Catherine is by 
no means alone among al- 
leged abductees in report- 
ing the presence ot large 
numbers of humans aboard 
the alien crafts. 

What accounts like these 
suggest is that the phe- 
nomenon actually involves 
mass abductions. It appears, 
as in Catherine.'s tale, that 
large numbers of people 
are being taken, one by one, 
to central locations that 
serve as holding facilities 
for dozens, perhaps hun- 
dreds, of others during the 
same period of time. If Ihe 
other abductees' stories 
are true, moreover, some- 
times entire groups of peo- 

pie are taken all at once, 

Reports of this phenom- 
enon, in fact, confirm some 
people's worst fears about 
the alien endeavor. Could 
we all be pawns in some 
weird extraterrestrial breed- 
ing scheme to repopulale a 
dying alien world? Or is the 
entire human race being 
unwillingly dratted into some 
hideous alien genetic ex- 
periment to produce alien- 
human hybrids? Whatever 
the case, one thing seems 
clear: Quite a large number 
of us are potential targets. 

"The phenomenon is not. 
as the general public tends 
to believe, an occasional 
'there's one. let's get him' 
sort of thing on the part of 
the aliens," explains David 
Jacobs, a Temple Univer- 
sity historian specializing in 
twentieth-century U.S. his- 
tory and the author of the 
book. Secret Life. Instead, 
he asserts, we have a mass 
abduction program taking 
place covertly. The notion 
of a secret invasion inevitably 
springs to mind. 

"What we have here," 
says Jacobs, "is a continual 
-abduction scenario. It's very 
much lil<e an assembly line. 
The aliens gel Ihem in. They 
go into a waiting area where 
they see other people sil- 
ting around. They get 
shown to a table. There are 
all sorts of people lying on 
the tables as various stages 
of different procedures are 
being run on them. Then 
they get them up, get them 
out, and new people arrive. 
It's a revolving door." 
















The extraordinary num- 
ber of people supposedly 
going through that revolv- 
ing door should, it seems, 
help cement the case for 
the reality of the phenome- 
non. If multiple participants 
are involved in an abduc- 
tion, the logic goes, then 
the experience cannot be 
the product of one individ- 
ual's fantasy or hallucina- 
tion. In fact, the mass ab- 
duction cases seem to offer 
believers a golden oppor- 
tunity to cross-checl< the 
details of the abduction ex- 
perience from independent 
perspectives and develop 
the proof the critics have 
always demanded. 

These mass abductions 
certainly appear to take 
place often enough. Jacobs 
estimates that abductees 
see other humans aboard 
the craft in half, if not most, 
of the cases. And one out 
of every four alleged ab- 
duction episodes involves 
multiple participants, ac- 
cording to Thomas Bullard, 
a folklorist whose 1987 Uni- 
versity of Indiana doctoral 
dissertation exhaustively 
analyzed about 300 pub- 
lished abduction accounts. 

Bullard found that while 
approximately half of these 
multiple-participant abduc- 
tion cases involved just two 
people — usually family 
members or friends — the 
other half involved either 
three, four, or more people 
who claimed to have been 
taken at once. There are 
even cases in which seven 
or more people have report- 

edly been abducted in a 
single episode. The situation 
led Bullard to lament wryly 
that, apparently, "there's 
just no safety in numbers," 

One of the earliest mass 
abduction cases on record 
actually involved nine peo- 
ple and took place one sum- 
mer some 40 years ago 
near Crater Lake, Oregon; 
it was not, however, re- 
ported to a UFO organiza- 
tion until 1982. The par- 
ticipants were a 32-year-old 
woman known only as Mrs. 
R., her 15-year-old brother, 
10-year-old sister, two 
daughters and a stepdaugh- 
ter aged 10 to 13, two 
younger nephews, and Mrs. 
R.'s 53-year-old mother. 

The witnesses remem- 
bered that while looking for 
a gas station they had come 
upon what appeared to be 
a restaurant. Their car en- 
gine sputtered and coasted 
into a parking area where 
three or four other cars 
were parked. The "build- 
ing" was round and lighted 
and the interior was circu- 
lar, Mrs, R. remembered 
commenting to her mother 
that the place was "really 
unbelievable," The family 
then sat down at one of the 
tables and apparently or- 
dered a meal from short, 
slender people with blond 
hair who all looked alike 
and wore identical silver 
uniforms and boots that 
sported the same emblem, 
"When I think about it now," 
said Mrs, R.'s mother almost 
two decades later, "I have 
a funny feeling like maybe 

we were a surprise to Ihem," 

Mrs. R. thinks they ate 
and paid their bill before 
ieavmg. Though the car 
would not start immedi- 
ately, it sort ot "coasted" 
onto the highway first and 
only then got underway. 
When the (amily reached 
the next town, Mrs. R. dis- 
covered that ihey had not 
spent any money and that 
no one in town had ever 
heard of such a restaurant. 
Though ihe family returned 
to search for it, they never 
found it, 

"I know I was in a UFO," 
said Mrs. R. almost three 
decades after the experi- 
ence, though that realiza- 
tion did not begin to regis- 
ter with her until about 1969, 
when she started recalling 
the incident and discussing 
it with her family, 

Peihaps the best docu- 
mented of all mass abduc- 
tion cases involves four 
young men who were ca- 
noeing along the Allagash 
Waterway in the wilderness 
of northern Ivlaine on Au- 
gust 26, 1976, Under hyp- 
nosis, all four experienced 
missing time and relived a 
detailed and amazingly 
similar UFO abduction epi- 
sode. This case, which was 
thoroughly investigated by 
Raymond Fowler, is unique 
in Ihe annals of UFO re- 
search in that it provides 
four separate, mutually col- 
laborating accounts of the 
same event. 

It went something like 
this: On Ihe fifth day of their 
canoe trip, Jim and Jack 

Weiner, Charlie Foltz, and 
Chuck Rak decided to re- 
plenish their now-scarce 
food supply by doing a little 
night fishing. Before sliding 
their canoe into the water, 
they prepared a large bon- 
fire in order to find their way 
back to camp in the pitch 
dark wilderness. 

They were halfway across 
a cove when they saw a 
silent, large, bright sphere 
of colored light at treetop 
level about 200 yards away. 
When Charlie began flash- 
ing his flashlight at it, the 
object began moving to- 
ward Ihem. Then, as the 
sphere — now only about 50 
leet above the water— ap- 
proached, the canoeists de- 
cided to head for solid 
ground and began paddling 
quickly toward shore. Their 
paddling became increas- 
ingly frantic when the object 
emitted a beam of light that 
advanced on (heir canoe. 

The next thing Charlie 
Foltz and Jim Werner re- 
. mem be red was standing at 
the campsite watching the 
object move away Chuck 
Rak remembers staying in 
the canoe and watching it 
disappear. Jack Weiner re- 
members first madly trying 
to outrun the beam of light, 
then calmfy getting out of 
the canoe. 

He finds it odd that they 
would be in such a hurry one 
moment and so calm the 
next. After the object disap- 
peared, the four walked up 
the beach to find that the 
huge bonfire they had left 
just 15 or so minutes before 

was now all coals. Jim 
thought Ihe large logs they 
had set on the fire should 
have burned for two to 
three hours, 

The four men had no 
memory of what happened 
during the time it took the 
bonfire to burn down, And 
several years would pass 
before Jim and Jack began 
to experience a series of 
strange dreams ot alien ab- 
ductors that would eventu- 
ally lead them to seek help 
from UFO investigator Ray- 
mond Fowler in May 1988. 
Over Ihe nexi two years 
Fowler hypnotized each ot 
the four men independently 
and elicited a strangely 
congruent testimony about 
being plucked from the 
water by a beam of light, 
taken aboard the craft, and 
forced to undergo medical 
examinations by aliens. 

Each of the four men re- 
called seeing the other 
three on board the alien 
craft, "They were all made 
to sit on a bench in Ihe 
nude," says Fowler, "and 
they watched one after the 
other being taken off the 
bench. Some of Ihe exami- 
nation was done within eye- 
sight of the others and some 
of it was done after Ihey 
were taken around the cor- 
ner from the bench But 
when you put it all together 
like a picture puzzle, you 
find that everybody is de- 
scribing the same event 
from different standpoints." 

Fowler went on to pro- 
duce a 10-volume, 702- 
page study ot this case and 

subsequently published a 
book. The Allagash Abduc- 
tions, as well. "All of the Al- 
lagash witnesses are of 
sound mind and reputa- 
tion," concludes Fowler, 
"They not only tell essen- 
tially the same story, bul 
under hypnosis Ihey relive 
it with all the Irauma and 
emotions that would be ex- 
pected of a real physical 
event, l th)nk Ihe evidence 
here is undeniable and would 
stand up in court if we were 
only dealing with an auto- 
mobile accident or some- 
thing like thai. But when 
you are talking about some- 
thing as bizarre as UFO ab- 
ductions, people find that 
very, very hard to believe," 

Even harder to believe 
is a case that appears to 
involve a mass abduction 
of hundreds of people in 
New York City late in the 
summer or early fall of 1992. 
The case is currently being 
investigated by Budd Hop- 
kins, who IS probably better 
known as a UFO researcher 
than as a modern artist 
these days. 

The story first emerged 
during one of Hopkins' 
support group meetings (or 
abductees. One person, 
Maty, was telling the group 
about a very vivid dream 
she had had, though she 
wasn't sure it was a dream. 
She recalled being in some 
sort of huge space filled 
with what appeared to be 
"people -movers" and many, 
many humans, all com- 
pletely naked. The scene 
somewhat resembled the 

S P E C I A 

physical at a selective ser- 
vice exam. And there was a 
kind of escalator, taking 
people up to another floor. 

At that point, two other 
abductees in the group, Bill 
and Joan, became ex- 
tremely agitated and said. 
"Oti gee, I've had a dream 
just like that " 

Hopkins immediately cut 
oft the conversation so that 
he could explore their ex- 
periences individually. Later, 
when Hopkins probed into 
Joan's dream under hypno- 
sis, she recalled the same 
large space, a strange chart 
on the wall, and. most in- 
credibly, seeing both Mary 
and Bill there as well, tolaiiy 
naked. Typically, both 
looked "out of it" to her. 

"Carl Sagan always has 
the idea that you are going 
to dash around and steal 
an alien cocktail napkin or 
something for evidence as 
you dash out of the place," 
notes Hopkins, "as if ab- 
ductees had all their senses 
intact. But in this, as in other 
situations, the abductees 
were in an altered state," 

Joan remembers having 
a perfunctory conversation 
with Mary in which they ex- 
pressed surprise at seeing 
each other there. Hopkins 
then asked Joan what Mary 
looked like naked. Joan 
said that Mary was very 
round-shouldered and that 
she had a big long scar at 
the bikini tine, 

Mary, as it happens, is 
extremely round-shouldered 
and always wears shoulder 
pads. And she does have a 

big long scar; it comes from 
a bladder operation she had 
as a child. Joan did not see 
Bill closely, but Hopkins 
asked her if he had much 
chest hair. Joan said no, and, 
in fact, he doesn't. 

Bill's description of the 
experience under hypnosis 
was much the same as 
Joan's. He also saw a chart 
on the wall, and though his 
recollection of it is some- 
what different, Hopkins is 
convinced they are de- 
scribing the same object. 
Under hypnosis, Mary was 
less clear about the epi- 
sode than the other two, 
but, as Hopkins points out. 
she generally doesn't have 
the recall that other people 
tend to have. 

Hopkins has not explored 
how the three were "ab- 
ducted" or how they were 
returned, and he will not 
describe the strange chart 
seen by Bill and Joan, nor 
the "space" the event itself 
took place in; he prefers to 
keep such details to him- 
self as a check on the au- 
thenticity of future cases! 

"It's a very good case," 
explains Hopkins, "because 
there is literally no way that 
they knew about this stuff. 
None of the three is a friend 
of the other two in any inti- 
mate way. They only know 
of each other from the sup- 
port group. So here we are 
again stuck with one of two 
possibilflies. Either they have 
cooked this up as a hoax, 
in which case you have 
three virtual sociopaths be- 
cause there IS nothing in it 

for them. Or it happened." 

While it's certainly diffi- 
cult to believe that vast 
numbers of humans are 
being abducted in this way 
on a regular basis, there is, 
surprisingly enough, some 
data to corroborate these 
harrowing anecdotal re- 
ports. Several surveys con- 
ducted over the past decade 
indicate that millions of 
Americans have experi- 
enced something that UFO 
researchers think suggests 
the possibility of abduction 
by alien beings. 

In a T991 Roper survey, 
the most impressive of the 
polls, 119 people of the al- 
most 6,000 questioned re- 
vealed they had experi- 
enced what UFO investiga-' 
tors call an alien abduction. 
If the numbers are extrapo- 
lated to the entire popula- 
tion of the United States, 
this translates to a stagger- 
ing five million abductees. 

The Roper poll, of course, 
is problematic. It has been 
severely criticized on the 
grounds that the five so- 
called key indicators of an 
abduction experience — re- 
porting unusual lights in a 
room, missing time, flying 
through the air without 
knowing why, paralysis in 
the presence of strange 
bedroom dgures, or puz- 
zling scars on the body — 
may not in fact mean that 
an abduction has occurred. 
Psychologists point out that 
most of these experiences 
can also be caused by the 
little-known but quite com- 
mon phenomenon of sleep 

paralysis and the various 
kinds of hallucinations that 
accompany It. 

But David Jacobs, one 
of the authors of the poll, 
begs to differ with his crit- 
ics. He and Hopkins, Ja- 
cobs explains, had thor- 
oughly pre-tested nine of 
the eleven abduction-re- 
lated questions on that poll. 
And those nine were ques- 
tions most frequently an- 
swered positively by ab- 
ductees, not nonabductees, 
(The other two questions 
tested the reliability of the 
poll. One of them, for in- 
stance, was a fake question, 
which gave the pollsters an 
idea of how many people 
had the impulse to answer 
positively no matter what 
was asked. The responses 
from the 1 percent who re- 
sponded positively to this 
question were not included 
in the final results,) 

"When we first got the 
numbers, the raw statis- 
tics," says Jacobs, "the 
numbers were ridiculously 
high— 7 percent, 8 percent. 
It was politically unaccept- 
able. So we decided to 
look only at the answers to 
the best five questions — 
those we considered to be 
the highest indicators for 
an abduction — and didn't 
consider people potential 
abductees unless they an- 
swered four or all five of 
those questions positively 
By doing that, we got the 
numbers down to a politi- 
cally acceptable 2 percent. 
The best we can say is that 
about one out of every 50 

R E P O R 

Americans has had experi- 
ences consistent with what 
pbductees have had. That 
indicates that an awful lot 
of people out there have 
had abduction experiences. 
And this of course is con- 
sistent with what the ab- 
ductees themselves teli us. 
They come into a room and 
they see 50, 75, or 100 other 
people lying on tables, 
and they report a constant 
stream of people. And we 
figure it's twenty-four hours 
a day, seven days a week." 

But to critics, millions of 
abduction reports actually 
prove the opposite — that 
there are just loo many of 
them for the phenomenon 
to be real. That's what 
Robert Durant, a commer- 
cial pilot witii a long interest 
in UFOs, thought at first, 
But when he decided to 
put his doubts to the test 
by figuring out how large a 
work force the aliens would 
need to carry out the mil- 
lions of abductions the 
Roper survey suggested 
were taking place, he 
began to thinly the mass 
abduction scenario was at 
least plausible. 

"I began very skepti- 
cally," notes Durant, "I 
thought no way could these 
numbers be correct But I 
decided to work through 
the math to see what I would 
come up with. I began by 
assuming that abductions 
are real physical events 
carried out systematically 
by a large work force. If this 
is the case, then the shop- 
floor parameters relevant to 

a shoe factory or medical 
facility ought to apply equally 
well to the case of an alien 
abduction program carried 
out on a host planet." 

To avoid comparisons 
with other fanciful exercises, 
like counting the number of 
dancing angels on the 
head of a pin, Durant 
searched the literature for 
actual data points to plug 
into his equation. How often 
does the typical abductee 
claim to be abducted? 
Though this varies widely, 
he found that 10 times was 
not an unreasonable num- 
ber, At what age do abduc- 
tions begin and cease? 
Typically, they begin around 
age 5 and end by age 55, 
he discovered. How long 
did abductions take to ac- 
complish? The periods of 
missing time reported by 
abductees range from min- 
utes to days, but most are 
on the order of two hours. 
How many aliens does it 
take to perform an abduc- 
tion? It's rare, he learned, 
tor more than six aliens to 
be involved in any one ab- 
duction event. 

Based on that data, Du- 
rant came up with some 
hair-raising numbers about 
the required "alien work 
force." If five million ab- 
ductees have experienced 
10 abductions over the last 
50 years, then an astonish- 
ing one million abductions 
take place per year, or 
2,740 per day in the United 
States alone. If a team of 
six aliens is required to per- 
form each two-hour abduc- 








YEAR, OR 2,740 PER 




tion, Durant figured that 
each team could then per- 
form 12 abductions a day 
So to perform 2,740 abduc- 
tions a day, he calculated 
that the aliens would need 
268 teams, or a total of 
1,370 aliens. 

Even if you double these 
figures to account for the 
fact that most abductions 
take place at night rather 
than 24 hours a day, the 
bottom line, Durant discov- 
ered, was that "about 500 
crews, totaling about 3,000 
aliens could do the job." 
While these figures may 
appear large, if you com- 
pare them with the num- 
bers needed to man naval 
vessels, says Durant — 
5,500 for an aircraft carrier 
and about 350 for a de- 
stroyer — the whole thing 
begins to look, well, plausi- 
ble. "The way the math 
worked out kind of knocked 
me back a bit," he admits. 
"This is extremely troubling 
to me because while I'm a 
total believer in UFOs, I 
don't buy the physical ab- 
duction scenario. And there^ 
no way I'm saying my analy- 
sis proves abductions are 
real, because after ai! these 
■years, we still don't have a 
shred of tangible proof." 

But Durant's number- 
just the beginning. Before 
long. Dennis Stacy, editor 
of a monthly UFO publica- 
tion. The MUFON Journal 
had picked up the ball 
Doing some math of his 
own, he came to conclude 
the numbers didn't work, 

S P E C I A 


By hJs reckoning, in fact, 
line alien work force re- 
quired was way beyond 
tlie limiis of possibility. 

"if the pfienornenon is 
global in nature, as it ap- 
pears to be," says Stacy, 
"then the 1 million abduc- 
tions a year in the United 
States grows to 22 million 
abductions worldwide. 
You would then need at 
least 11,000 alien crews, 
for a total of 66,000 aliens, 
lo carry out the task, and 
of course, 11,000 UFOs 
overhead at any given 
hour." And if you take into 
account the need for sup- 
port crews, reasonable 
shifts, and such, notes 
Stacy, the numbers, like the 
Eveready Rabbit, "keep 
on growing and growing 
and growing," 

For Stacy, the ridicu- 
lously large numbers point 
to an obvious conclusion. 
"There must be a terres- 
trial, that is, psychological 
in nature, rather than ex- 
traterrestrial origin to the 
abduction experience," he 
says. "The argument that 
some 200 million people 
have' been abducted 
aboard physical flying 
craft in, say, the last decade 
or so, is simply unsupport- 
able in terms of common 
sense and logic. What 
imaginable need of non- 
terrestrial science would 
this serve? And think of 
the logistics such a fan- 
tastic undertaking would 
involve. UFOs would be 
stacked up over the world's 
major metropolitan areas. 







SO MANY 747s. THE 









awaiting landing and ab- 
duction rights, like so many 
747s, The scale of such 
an invasion would be im- 
possible for any govern- 
ment to plausibly ignore or 
cover up," 

If the numbers don't 
make sense, then how do 
we explain the mass ab- 
duction memories of peo- 
ple like Mary, Bill, Joan, 
Jack, Jim, Chuck, and 
Charlie? William Cone, a 
clinical psychologist with 
a private practice in New- 
port Beach, California, has 
done a lot of research on 
abductees and thinks that 
while some cases of mass 
abduction are quite impres- 
slve, many can be ex- 
plained as "contamination." 

Look for instance, he 
says, at the Allagash 
case — the one involving 
the four men in the canoe. 
"It's interesting that all of 
these guys were heavily 
interested in UFOs and 
abductions before ever 
going to see Fowler. They 
all knew about abduc- 
tions, and they walked in 
to Fowler, who Ihey knew 
had written other books on 
the subject. They walked 
in with a pre-set mind of 
We saw something, we - 
have missing time, so we 
must have been abducted. 
And this happens again 
and again. I find it inter- 
esting that 12 years went 
by when they didn't worry 
about It, until they read 
some UFO books, 

"The other thing I find 
incredible," Cone contin- 

ues, "is that these four 
guys who have been bud- 
dies for all these years go 
through abduction regres- 
sion therapy, get all these 
memories, and manage 
not to talk about it to their 
buddies for a year, until 
they've all been hypno- 
tized. If you were my 
buddy and that had hap- 
pened to me, I think I'd tell 
you. So when they say we 
didn't talk lo each other, I 
don't buy that. But I think 
they really did see some- 
thing. They really did have 
an experience. But whether 
it's an abduction experi- 
ence, I don't know." 

Cone ventures a similar 
explanation for the mass 
abduction case of 1992 in 
New York City, which first 
appeared in a support 
group meeting of ab- 
ductees at Budd Hopkins' 
home, "There is a great 
deal of contamination in 
this field," notes Cone, 
"especially in support 
groups. We've known since 
the days of the nineteenth- 
century French physician 
Jean Martin Charcot that 
support groups contami- 
nate memory. It's no secret, 
but somehow UFO re- 
searchers, not being men- 
tal health professionals, 
have never bothered to 
look at this. They think these 
people are getting sup- 
port, but what they are 
doing is reaffirming their 
own fantasies. I hear this 
all the lime in hospitals I 
work at. You put somebody 
in the support group, and 



It was the fictional Sher- 
lock Holmes who noted 
that "the game is afoot." 
He didn't have UFOs in 
mind, obviously, but a more 
elusive quarry could hardly 
be imagined. 

If modern-day UFO de- 
tectives are to be suc- 
cessful, they'll want to 
bring the best available 
hardware and software to 
bear on their prey. In this 
installment, we'll review 
the basic hardware you'll 
want to carry into the field. 
From flashlight and cam- 
era to the always handy 
compass, we'll describe 
the basic equipment any 
self-respecting UFO hunter 
needs. As we focus on 
tools in the months that fol- 
low, we'll supplement this 
basic tool kit with user- 
friendly software; a high- 

lech wish list; an access 
guide to a potpourri of re- 
search tools from maps to 
mailing lists and databases; 
and even instructions for 
procuring government 
documents and powering 
onto the Internet. 

While some tools are 
absolutely required, oth- 
ers are optional. Some are 
easy to come by — the basic 
compass, for instance — 
while others can be ac- 
quired only after careful 
research or trips to a spe- 
cialty store. In the chapter 
that follows we'll make 
general recommendations. 
Remember, however, es- 
pecially where electronic 
and optical equipment is 
concerned, that prices and 
quality can vary widely. 
Also, there's no require- 
ment that you pay retail 









dollar for any specific tool. 
Bargains abound out 
there, from the classified 
section of your local news- 
paper to specialist mail- 
order catalogs, discount 
warehouses, and army 
surplus Stores. The sky's 
the limit when it comes to 
UFO-detection equipment, 
but so is personal creativ- 
ity. Some of you may even 
want to build or jerry-rig 
tools of your own. In the 
end, your basic UFO tool 
kit can be as simple or so- 
phisticated as you like, 
depending on your bud- 
get and your needs. But 
no UFO sleuth can skip 
the essentials, and that is 
where we begin. 

The absolute necessi- 
ties of any UFO investiga- 
tor's tool kit start with what 
1 call the three P's— pen or 

pencil and paper. A written 
record of your investiga- 
tion, which includes per- 
sonal notes and witness 
interviews, is absolutely es- 
sential, No matter how reli- 
able the brand name, elec- 
tronic equipment is always 
subject to potential disas- 
ter. Tapes break, batteries 
fail, cameras and recorders 
get dropped, especially un- 
der field conditions. And 
while cameras and cam- 
corders can offer documen- 
tary exactitude, the sun 
sets and it can also rain — 
all outside your control. 

The paper, of course, 
should be in notebook, as 
opposed to loose-leaf, form, 
I prefer a little 5-by-8-inch 
pad, instead of letter or legal 
sizes, because it's easier to 
drop in a vest or jacket pock- 
et when you're done with it. 

And please remember 
when you're out in the Held; 
Your notebook can double 
as a sketchpad. Alongside 
your own written notes, be 
sure to sketch the horizon 
of the sighting scene, not- 
ing any visible landmarks, 
such as power lines, trees, 
or water towers. Then ask 
the witness or witnesses to 
draw in the shape of the 
object when first sighted 
and its trajectory, and ask 
them to date and sign it. 

A reliable compass will 
come in handy at this point. 
Determine magnetic north 
and indicate same on your 
sketch. Directional findings 
are most useful for eliminat- 
ing known objects and 
phenomena like planets. 

airplane flight patterns, and 
so on, but they can also lit- 
erally point you in the direc- 
tion of additional witnesses. 
Like pocket change, a good 
compass can serve two utili- 
tarian purposes. Besides 
giving directions, it can also 
aot as a crude magnetome- 
ter, a device for measuring 
changes in local magnetic 
fields, although obviously it 
can't determine the strength 
or degree of that change. 

But assume that you're 
investigating a UFO case in 
which associated electro- 
magnetic effects have been 
reported, such as the stalling 
of a car's engine or the fail- 
ure of its electrical system. 
It's stiil possible to make a 
preliminary assessment of 
magnetic-field fluctuations 
or variations using nothing 
more elaborate than a good, 
reliable compass, previously 
calibrated, or confirmed, as 
indicating true north. The 
technique is fairly simple; in 
fact, it was even laid out as 
early as 1968 in the Univer- 
sity of Colorado's -Scientific 
Study of Unidentified Flying 
Objects, otherwise known 
as the Condon, Report. 

Here's how it might work. 
Take the car (or any other 
nearby piece of metal) re- 
portedly affected, and. 
using your compass at a 
distance, note its present 
magnetic orientation. Now 
take at least ten or fifteen 
similar readings at evenly 
spaced intervals, say every 
ten to fifteen inches, around 
the pehmeter of the hood 
or trunk of the car. If you're 

facing the car, for example, 
take your first measurement 
just behind the front left 
headlight and proceed par- 
allel to the left side of the 
car until you reach the hood 
hinge in front of the wind- 
shield. Continue to take 
and record readings from 
the left side of the car to 
the driver's side, then pro- 
ceed forward until you end 
just behind the right head- 
light, having executed an 
upside-down U. Carefully 
record magnetic north or 
the deviation from mag- 
netic north at each point. 

Crude as they may be, 
these 15 or so "soundings" 
represent a sort of -mag- 
netic "signature," so to 
speak. To confirm that any 
significant magnetic field 
was actually encountered (or 
altered), a comparison test 
should be run on a control 
car of the same year and 
model, using the same com- 
pass and taking readings 
at the same evenly spaced 
points, or intervals, Remem- 
ber to orient the control car 
(or other metallic object) in 
the same direction as the 
originally affected car. An- 
other word of caution: Don't 
place the compass directly 
on the car hood or other 
metal object being tested; 
instead, insert your paper 
notebook (or some other 
non-conductive material) 
between the two, 

Expect to pay no more 
than $15 for a good-quality 
compass, For another $20 
or so. Forestry Suppliers 
(800-360-7788), an engi- 

neering supply house, of- 
fers compasses calibrated 
to the northern hemisphere 
with luminous dials and 
built-in clinometer for meas- 
uring heights and slopes of 
up to 90 degrees. In addi- 
tion, the company also sells 
a 214-page instruction 
manual for beginners unfa- 
miliar with how to read maps 
and compasses ($1 1,95), 

Next month we'll cover 
the subject of maps in de- 
tail, but for now, sketch out 
your own map, indicating any 
prominent landmarks. If you 
happen to have a detailed 
map of the region, make 
notations on that as well. 

The witness should also 
indicate the angle at which 
any UFO was seen. This can 
only be an approximation 
at best, obviously, but it still 
remains useful in post-in- 
vestigative terms. For exam- 
ple, if Venus or the bright- 
est star in the heavens', Sir- 
ius, can be shown to have 
been in the same general 
direction and altitude at the 
same time as the reported 
UFO, then Venus or Sirius 
becomes at least a pcime 
candidate or suspect. Again, 
this can be determined by 
handing the notebook to 
the witness and letting him 
or her determine the angle 
as best as possible. Later, 
a common plastic protrac- 
tor, available from graphic 
and art supply houses, can 
be used to arrive at the ap- 
proximate angie. 

For the next tool of the 
trade, just look in your 
pocket, I'll bet anything you 


can stick your hand in and 
pull out a few coins. Take 
tiiat dime and simply ask 
the eyewitness to hold it at 
arm's length and compare 
it to ttie apparent size of the 
object seen and reported. 
Was the UFO smaller or 
larger? (You may be sur- 
prised to find that two full 
moons can easily hide be- 
hind a single dime.) If dis- 
tance can later be estab- 
lished with any degree ol 
certainty, this could permi 
a reliable approximation of 
the object's actual size or 
diameter. You may substi- 
tute pennies, nickels, and 
quarters, or even the lid of 
a styrofoam cup as the situ- 
ation warrants. 

Another basic is also 
readily available: a supply 
of plastic bags, preferably 
ones with a zip closure, es- 
pecially if the UFO is re- 
ported to have impacted 
the environment, leaving 
behind crushed vegetation 
or ground indentations. 
Mark each sample bag with 
a permanent laundry marker 
or masking tape and pen. 
Be sure to collect several 
control samples as well, be- 
ginning nearby and moving 
progressively further from 
the reported contact or 
landing site, carefully label- 
ing each one and indicat- 
ing its position on a map, 
hand-drawn or otherwise, 
of the immediate area. Ide- 
ally, these samples should 
be turned over to a labora- 
tory for analysis as soon as 
possible. If you can't afford 
to hire a private laboratory 

on your own — and most of 
us can't— try inquiring at the 
relevant department (biol- 
ogy chemistry or physics) 
of your local college or uni- 
versity. You may also wish 
to contact one of the estab- 
lished UFO organizations 
to see if they have some- 
one on the staff willing to 
assist in any material analy- 
sis. Request a copy of the 
final report in exchange for 
your samples. 

I would also recommend 
two flashlights— one pen- 
light and one regular-size — 
with back-up batteries for 
both (as well as for any other 
battery-operated equip- 
ment). In a pinch, the pen- 
light can be clamped be- 
tween your teeth for note- 
taking or compass-reading 
at night. If your compass has 
luminous markings, they can 
be charged with a brief expo- 
sure of light, The larger light 
can be used for everything 
from illuminating a distant 
tree line to changing a flat 
tire in the middle of a field. 

Some hunters like to 
pack a powerful, hand-held 
searchlight as a means of 
"signaling" any approach- 
ing UFO, Readily available 
commercial models range 
in luminosity from 100.000 
candlepower up to one mil- 
lion candlepower. The lat- 
ter, 25 times brighter than an 
autcHTiobile headlight on high 
beam, is capable of spot- 
ting objects up to ten miles 
away. The Forestry Suppli- 
ers catalog carries spotlights 
ranging in price from ap- 
proximately $30 to $65, al- 







FROM ABOUT 100,000 





though accessories like 
spare batteries and bulbs 
and a car cigarette-lighter at- 
tachment can add another 
$30 to $45 to the final cosL 

The basic UFO hunter's 
field kit should also include 
an audio tape recorder and 
a camera of some sort. 
These should be regarded 
as necessary accessories 
to, not substitutes for, the 
already-mentioned tools, I 
prefer a mmi-casselte re- 
corder because, like the 
smaller notebook pad, it 
can easily be slipped into a 
shirt or coat pocket. Get 
one with the most advanced 
features you can afford, be- 
ginning with voice-activa- 
tion and counter. The counter 
will prove extremely helpful 
when it comes to transcnb- 
ing your interviews later. 
Observe the Boy Scout 
motto to always be prepared 
and never venture into the 
field with new equipment, 
electronic or otherwise, 
which you haven't previ- 
ously tested and familiar- 
ized yourself with, 

Like tape recorders, 
cameras come in a bewil- 
dering cornucopia of choice, 
each with its own advan- 
tages and drawbacks. In- 
stant photographic process 
cameras, for example, con- 
vey immediacy at the ex- 
pense of resolution and 
other photographic factors. 
They serve best as a sort of 
surrogate notepad, Photo- 
graph the site during day- 
time and have the witness 
draw the UFO on the actual 
pnnt; then have him or her 


indicate the angle above 
the horizon of the UFO 
with an outstretched arm. 
Take two photographs ot 
each scene, if you don't 
want the original marked 
over. If physical side ef- 
fects have been reported, 
by all means document 
them with the camera if 
that's all you have. A pic- 
ture, worth a potential 
thousand words, is better 
than no picture at all. 

Thirty-five millimeter 
cameras have proliferated 
to such a degree in recent 
years that it would be im- 
possible to single out any 
specific model as the 
agreed upon "best" for this 
or that purpose, Some so- 
called "point-and-shoot" 
auto-focus cameras with 
built-in zoom lenses and 
pop-up flash attachments 
virtually rival their manu- 
facturer's professional lines 
in terms of the final prod- 
uct. Again, assume that 
much or most of your in- 
vestigation will be con- 
ducted under less than 
ideal conditions. Where 
photography is involved 
this means low light levels. 
Consequently, your cam- 
era should have a built-in 
flash or a "hot shoe" for at- 
taching a separate flash 
unit. Flash photography is 
notoriously tricky, how- 
ever, and once again you 
should familiarize yourself 
with taking pictures under 
various lighting conditions 
before venturing into the 
field. This applies even to 
the newest generation of 

allegedly "idiot-proof" 
cameras. I would also rec- 
ommend you keep your 
camera loaded with a rel- 
atively high-speed color 
negative (as opposed to 
slide or transparency) film, 
one with an ASA rating of 
1000, 1600, or higher, es- 
pecially if you thtnk you 
may have the opportunity 
to actually photograph a 
UFO yourself. What you 
lose in terms of resolution 
you'll more than gain back 
in terms of light-gathering 
capabilities. As with bat- 
teries, always take more film 
than you think you'l! need. 

Photography is an art 
that can't be taught here, 
but you should be aware 
of at least two techniques. 
First, if at all possible, be 
sure to include some ref- 
erence point (a house or 
tree) in any UFO picture. 
A small speck of light 
against a dark backdrop is 
almost useless for analy- 
sis, no matter hew big it's 
blown up or enlarged. If 
you don't see any immedi- 
ate reference point through 
the viewfinder, try turning 
the picture angle from the 
normal horizontal view to 
a vertical one. If that doesn't 
work, trying zooming back 
from the UFO until a refer- 
ence point does appear in 
the frame and snap your 
picture then. 

The range of a typical 
zoom lens is from 28mm 
to 35mm (wide angle) to 
105mm to 135mm when 
fully zoomed or tele- 
scoped. If you plan to use 

a larger telescopic lens, 
say, 200mm to 300mm, in 
order to achieve maximum 
magnification, be aware 
that you'll probably need a 
lightweight tripod for 
steadiness. If you're caught 
in the field without a tri- 
pod, steady the camera 
against some solid object, 
the roof of a car, for exam- 
ple, if available. In a pinch, 
use someone's shoulder. 

Videocameras have 
advanced by leaps and 
bounds in recent years as 
well, as far as basic fea- 
tures and capabilities are 
concerned. Most of the 
major electronic manufac- 
turers—Sony, Panasonic, 
and so on — now offer off- 
the-shelf COD (charge- 
coupled device) cam- 
corders with 12x zoom 
lenses capable of captur- 
ing reasonable images in 
low-light conditions, usu- 
ally one lux or better. Such 
cameras can typically be 
found within the $700 to 
$900 price range, de- 
pending on included fea- ' 
tures. If your budget per- 
mits, get one with "steady- 
cam" (to counteract vibra- 
tion) and auto-focusing ca- 
pabilities already on board. 

Whether you're using a 
still camera or videocam- 
era, I recommend that you 
take along a lightweight 
tripod. This will not only 
provide increased stability 
(and therefore sharpness) 
for any pictures taken, it 
will also free your hands 
and eyes for other activi- 
ties. A iripod should be 

considered especially if 
your investigation involves 
an alleged UFO "hot spot," 
that is, circumstances un- 
der which a UFO is said to 
be roaming the immediate 
area, and could conceiv- 
ably reappear at virtually 
any moment. 

Finally you'll want a pair 
of binoculars with neck- 
strap and a star chart. Ed- 
mund Scienlific (609-573- 
6858) carries the latter for 
only $2.75. As with cam- 
bewildering variety and 
price range. Opt for a com- 
fortable combination of 
weight and optical quality 
and expect to pay any- 
where from $75 to $300. 
Binoculars are described 
by both their magnifica- 
tion power and lens diam- 
eter; thus, 7x50 binoc- 
ulars give you a 50mm 
lens diameter with seven 
power magnification, ade- 
quate for UFO hunting. 

Most independent in- 
vestigators should be able 
to put together the basic 
kit above for about$1,000, 
assuming they start com- 
pletely from scratch. But 
for those who already have 
a camera, binoculars, and 
mini-cassette recorder, 
start-up costs will be cor- 
respondingly lower. 

Next month, look for our 
UFO hunters' wish list of 
the best high-tech good- 
ies. But meanwhile, don't 
waste any lime getting 
started. As one famous de- 
tective was fond of saying, 
"the game is afool,"00 







Meet one Kalharina Wil- 
son, an altraclive, intelligent, 
apparently well-adjusted, 
34-year-old woman. Born 
in a small college town in 
\he Deep Soulti, Wilson 
now lives in Portland, Ore- 
gon, with her second hus- 
band, Erik. She sees her- 
self as "an average Ameri- 
can woman," a fitting self- 
description marred by just 
one fact; She also claims 
to be a UFO abductee. 

At first glance, Wilson's 
story sounds rather typical 
of other abduction lore. 
She claims to have been 
abducted and reproduc- 
tively traumatized since 
the age of six by small 
alien creatures with large 
black eyes. Then, in her 
late twenties, she decided 
to come out of the UFO 
closet and tell all. 

What's different about 
Wilson's account, however, 
is in the way it comes to 
us — straighl up. She has 

told her story — a[l of it, 
every dirty detail — on her 
own. It does not come to us 
secondhand, through a 
Budd Hopkins or a David 
Jacobs, to name just two of 
the most prominent UFO 
abduction researchers in 
this country, Instead, the 
story comes to us pure and 
wholly unfiltered in a booi< ' 
Wilson has written and 
published herself. 

Why is this so important? 
Because hearing about 
alien abductions directly 
from experiencers reveals 
aspects of the phenome- 
non long ignored — or per- 
haps just swept under the 
carpet — by most research- 
ers. And in the end, these 
regularly hidden details 
may be vital in determining 
the cause of the UFO ab- 
duction phenomenon. 

Indeed, as a journalist 
who's investigated more 
than my fair share of UFO 
abductions, I've learned 
that many aspects of the 
so-called abduction phe- 
nomenon just don't make it 
into print, instead, most in- 
vestigators inevitably proc- 
ess the stories, molding the 
accounts io fit the theories 
they favor or the patterns 
they expect to find. Things 
that don't fit their pre- 
conceived notion of v^'hat's 
really happening "out 
there" are often deliberately 
left out of subsequent re- 
tellings of the tale. 

In the standard abduction 
■scenario, a person may or 
may not have'seen a UFO 
but IS somehow whisked 

away from his or her home 
or car by small gray crea- 
tures and forced to under- 
go some sort of medical 
examination aboard a space- 
ship. The incident usually 
turns out to be one of many 
in the person's past involv- 
ing a variety of reproductive 
assaults — semen sampling, 
artificial insemination, and 
fetus removal — resulting in 
the production of human/ 
alien slarbabies that the 
ETs keep. 

Generally lacl<ing in the 
standard scenario, how- 
ever, is the wide variety of 
other phenomena that the 
person often claims to have 
experienced as v^ell — the 
psychic perceptions, the 
premonitions, the bedroom 
encounters with dead rela- 
ti^Jes, the ghosts, the time 
travel, and more. Despite 
what is often a nearly mind- 
numbing display of high 
strangeness, you would be 
hard pressed to find such 
descriptions in the pub- 
lished accounts. 

In the standard abduc- 
tion scenario, as brought to 
us by the "experts," these 
messy details are summarily 
expunged. What we are left 
with is a cleaned-up story a 
tale that stays unerringly "on 
mark," thus fitting the de- 
sired "alien" mold. 

Of course, to some ex- 
tent information selection 
happens, often uncon- 
sciously, in every field of hu- 
man inquiry But in a proto- 
discipline lil<e UFOIogy 
where the basic data is it- 
self a subiect of contention. 

this sort of filtering is partic- 
ularly damaging. 

Now ali this has changed, 
thanks to 7776 Alien Jigsaw, 
Katharina Wilson's coura- 
geous effort to buck the 
wave of censorship and tell 
all. In this brutally honest, 
firsthand account, Wilson 
describes a harrowing life- 
time of encounters with 
what she sincerely believes 
are aliens. She holds noth- 
ing back, and provides nu- 
merous surprises along the 
way To begin with she tells 
us of not one, or two, or a 
dozen abduction episodes, 
but an astounding 119 of 
them, occurring In a span 
of just 26 years. And her 
experiences involve not just 
your typical aliens, but also 
encounters with the dead, 
time-travel episodes, psy- 
chic experiences, and 
even a vision of an eight- 
foot-tail floating penguin — 
everything you can imagine 
and a whole lot more. 

In the middle of one ab- 
duction episode, for exam- 
ple, Wilson somehowf en- 
counters her present hus- 
band as a young man, years 
before she met him. Later 
in the episode she is terri- 
fied when told by the aliens 
that it is 1957— -three years 
before she was born, Wil- 
son also credits the aliens 
wfOi saving her life; she twice 
had alien premonitions of 
nearly being killed by light- 
ning, and on August 7, 1989 
Wilson put on a pair of rub- 
ber-soled shoes just mo- 
ments before lightning shat- 
tered the courtyard wall 

and nearly killed her, 

I don't think Wilson is 
perpetrating a hoax, if she 
were, she certainly would 
have left out the journal entry 
dated August 4. 1992, "I'm 
with Senator Gore," Wilson, 
wrote, "and we are in a large 
room with many people. He 
is organizing something. 
Governor Clinton must be 
here, too — now I'm looking 
directly at President Bush, 
He really looks tired- 
beaten," When Wilson tells 
Gore that she has never 
voted Republican, Bush 
looks at her "with a look of 
disgust on his face," Later, 
she realizes that Gore and 
Clinton are preparing a 
feast, and she watches as it 
grows larger and larger. 

Following this journal en- 
try Wilson writes; "Although 
I did not remember seeing 
any alien beings associ- 
ated with this encounter, it 
felt the same way all of my 
other visitations felt. It was 
extremely vivid," 

I asked Wilson if she had 
actually seen Bush, Gore, 
and Clinton. 

"I hope not," she replied 
with just a touch of humor. 

But that's a contradic- 
tion, I pointed out. You say 
your alien encounters are 
real and that this encounter 
with political figures was 
just as real as those you- 
have with the aliens. 

"Did I say that?" she said, 
"Weil, I don't think it was 
Gore because he was very 
short, I thought that was 
some form of camouflage," 
Wilson regards this episode 

as an alien-inspired vision 
of the Clinton and Gore win 
in November 1992. 

Wilson also believes one 
of the beings actually 
helped her with the book, 
pointing out before the book 
went to press that she had 
transcribed five journal 
dates incorrectly. 

Though some may think 
Wilson's account ridiculous, 
it is, in fact, typical of the 
sort of outre material that 
abduclees consider part 
and parcel of their alien ex- 
periences. It's no wonder 
that investigators intent on 
proving the alien root of 
UFO abductfons often leave 
such material out of their 
published stories. It clearly 
weakens their case. 

What does Wilson think 
atJOUt her verboten account, 
so potentially damaging to 
the alien hypothesis and 
contrary to UFOIogy's un- 
written code? 

"Some people suggested 
that I cut out some of this 
material," she told me, "but 
I thought there is a lot more 
going on, and even though 
we don't understand it, it 
doesn't mean that it should- 
n't be reported. As far as I 
know, this has not been 
done before. The book was 
really put out there for other 
experiencers, because I 
know they are experiencing 
things that they cannot ac- 
count for by reading Budd 
Hopkins' Intruders and 
David Jacobs' Secret Life." 

Despite her candid atti- 
tude, Wilson's ultimate con- 
clusion echoes that of the 

abduction gurus: "The aliens 
are probably collecting ova," 
she opines, landing strictly 
within the standard-issue 
abduction scenario and 
sounding a lot like Budd 
Hopkins, who was the first to 
investigate her case back 
in 1988, 

In fact, like Hopkins, who 
has penned the introduc- 
tion for The Alien Jigsaw. 
Wilson lends to blame aliens 
for just about ail the weird- 
ness. "1 know that penguins 
arent eight feet tall, and they 
don't float in midair," she 
explains. "That was an in- 
stance of camouflage and 
screen memory. And I don't 
really think dead people are 
visiting me, I think that's a 
form of alien manipulation. I 
do believe that tfie time travel 
is real, but I Ihmk there have 
been a few occasions where 
they manipulated me into 
thinking that happened." 

If you think about it, of 
course, the surrealistic 
scenes described by Wilson 
have the fantastical feel of 
dreams. Is she, in fact, re- 
calling nocturnal images 
from the land of dreamy 
dreams— concocted by a 
trick of consciousness, 
cooked in the fires of REM. 
and transformed in the 
morning to a cocktail dish 
of aliens, starbabies, and 
UFOs? When I ask Wilson 
for the temporal context of 
her encounters, her re- 
sponse IS typically straight- 
forward — and telling, "I 
would have to say thattne 
last thing I remember pnor 
to most of these experi- 












ences," she satd, "is going 
to bed." 

Isn't that sequence — 
going to bed, falling asleep, 
getting "abducted," and 
waking up — suggestive of 
the nightly journey we all 
take to the imagistic out- 
back of the dream? 

"That's a fair question," 
she replies, "But I happen 
to have dreams all the time 
and, even if I don't leave my 
bed, abductions and dreams 
just do not feel the same " 

Whether Wilson is re- 
porting from the land of 
Nod, the domain of aliens, 
or some other realm yet un- 
known, we may never know. 
But whatever the truth of 
the matter, it's time to ap- 
plaud her tell-all book and 
attitude. Her story is, in fact, 
far more typical of abduc- 
tion cases than we have 
been led to believe. And the 
only way to learn the truth 
behind the UFO abduction 
phenomenon is to let it all 
hang out, 

Wilson's candid tale may 
have already opened the 
floodgates. Some research- 
ers new to the field have 
begun to balk at the pre- 
packaged version of the 
abduction phenomenon we 
have been spoon-fed by 
the experts, and other ab- 
ductees are beginning to 
step forward with stories of 
their own. A 24-year-old 
businessman from Harrison 
County, West Virginia, for 
example, has come forth 
claiming that he has been 
abducted by aliens at least 
1,500 times.DQ 


the next day they have their 
neighbor's story. I think a 
lot of thai is going on," 

In fact, an examination 
of the literature reveals 
that those reporting shared 
abduction experiences 
virtually always know one 
another beforehand, or 
contact one another be- 
fore giving their stories to 
independent investiga- 
tors. Because of this, re- 
searchers can never really 
prove there had been no 
collaboration, either con- 
sciously or unconsciously, 
between the alleged ab- 
ductees. The ideal case 
would involve two or more 
people who did not know 
each other but who gave 
collaborating details of the 
same abduction incident 
to independent investiga- 
tors. There is no such case. 
Of course, if the reports of 
mass abductions were lit- 
erally true, there should, in 
fact, be dozens, hun- 
dreds, even thousands of 
such cases in the files of 
UFO investigators. 

David Jacobs tries to 
explain Vifhy there are none, 
"The secret aspect of the 
phenomenon," he says, 
"is remarkably efficient 
and extraordinarily effec- 
tive, The way in which the 
alien program is instituted 
militates against having a 
lot of cases from the same 
day And so does the way 
in which we find out about 
cases. Most people who 
have had abduction expe- 
riences don't really know 

what has happened to 
them. They might know 
that an odd thing has hap- 
pened here or there, but 
linking it to a UFO abduc- 
tion is not something most 
of them would probably 
do. So of all the abduciees 
out there we only hear from 
about .001 percent of them. 
But every once in a while 
we'll have a case where 
somebody who is an ab- 
ductee will come up to an- 
other person and say, 'I 
know you, I've seen you 
before,' And they will trace 
it back to an abduction 
event they have shared." 

Jacobs does not look to 
such experiences for veri- 
fication of the existence of 
the abduction phenome- 
non, however having long 
ago moved beyond verifi- 
cation in search of an- 
swers to such questions 
as, Who are they?, Where 
do they come from?, and 
What do they want with 
us? "Yes, some people still 
want to be persuaded," 
admits Jacobs. "But It's 
not something that I spend 
a lot of time on, because 
for me that's a little bit of 
wheel spinning, t realize that 
for others this is extremely 
Important, but I can't be 
too much bothered with 
that because it takes a lot 
of time and effort and it 
keeps me away frorri re- 
searching what I think are 
more important aspects of 
the phenomenon," 

For Jacobs, it's the little 
details in the abduction 
stories — the kind that have 













no reason for being there 
unless they really hap- 
pened — that tell him this is 
real, "Just last night," he 
says, citing one example, 
"I did a session with a guy 
who saw maybe 15 other 
people aboard. He was 
abducted with his wife 
and two kids. He remem- 
bers being in line with a 
group of people, and once 
they went Into the waiting 
area, they took their clothes 
off. He noted in front of 
him an older guy, heavy 
set, and bald with just a 
fringe of hair on his head. 
He told me in passing that 
there was a mole on his 
left shoulder," 

A mole on his left 
shoulder. To Jacobs, that 
kind of detail iuat smacks 
of a real, rather than an 
imagined event. But such 
details will never be enough 
to convince the rest of the 
world that Cathenne, Jack, 
Jim, Chuck, Mary, Bill, 
Joan, and millions of other 
humans have been ab- 
ducted by aliens. Some- 
thing more is needed, 
something more than what 
any abduction case, or 
mass abduction case, for 
that matter, has yet been 
able to provide: a shred of 
physical evidence. If there 
have been millions of ab- 
ductions, it seems as if by 
now, we'd have come up 
with something certifiably 
alien — a lab tool, a tunic, 
a skin sample, a heretofore 
unknown universal law, or 
yes, even a measly cock- 
tail napkin. DQ 


If, being as one 
With your Work 
JS the CKitcnon 

oP genius — 


Fiction By Ernie Colon and A. J. Gamble 

iard plas-soled boots 
pounded and echoed off the 
narrow street driving casual 
loungers and pedestrians into 
the nearest cover. Doorways, 
back alleys, any space away 
from that sound became suddenly crowded 
with terrified, scattering people. 

The leader signaled and the pounding be- 
came a whisper of carefully placed feet in a 
softer, still determined pace. 

The Sanitation Squad halted abruptly on 
the leader's hand signal. Frank Slater leaned 
against the black wall, his iSO suit scraping 
away rebel graffiti. Idiots, he thought; they know 
it comes off easily but they persist in painting 
and spraying their seditious nonsense. 

He peered around the wall, cursing the 
ISO suit for jutting out before he could see. If 
the pissy little informant was right, there 
should be two men under that halo. On a 
foggy damp night like this the street light was 
aptly named, its cold bluish light surrounded 
by a misty saint's corona. And there he was. 
Brad Johnson's baby brother. Johnson him- 
self would be on the scene in minutes, there 
having been a general police call. 

There were actually four of them, but all 
the better. Rebels were rebels and he and 
his unit were empowered to eradicate where 
deemed necessary. Slater smiled. It usually 
was necessary. 

Even at this distance, he could see the red 
eyes of the carrier. His brow furrowed. How 
could the scum rebels stand close to a man 
so clearly infected with CHROMO? No matter. 
It was time to get to work. The carrier must 
be the first target. There must be no chance 
of his getting away. Slater let his weapon 
hang from its sling and made a pattern of 
signals that his men, through long hours of 
training, understood immediately. The man in 

the long gray topcoat was his. Slater's. 

A patrol's nearing wail was the signal for 
Slater to spring into action. That vehicle could 
only be Brad Johnson responding. Slater 
jumped out, his weapon already fixed on 
Terry Johnson. The group of four, alerted by 
the siren, were crouching, ready to bolt. Two 
of them did and were cut down by Slater's 
men. One of them was the carrier. Their bod- 
ies, already lifeless when they smashed into 
and slid along the street, smoked with the 
crackling energy of the Sanitation Squad's 
weapons. Terry Johnson and the remaining 
rebel put their hands up. Slater laughed out 
loud, the metallic sound eerie in counterpoint 
to the nearing siren. He smoked the quaking 
rebel next to the Johnson brat. The body 
jumped and slid near the other two. Apart 
from briefly closing his eyes and compress- 
ing his lips, Terry Johnson said nothing and 
revealed nothing of his feelings or reaction. 
Slater smiled approvingly. The boy had balls, 
no question. He was a traitor and a fool, from 
a family of fools, but he had balls. 

Slater walked closer as the siren behind 
him stopped, the patrol car's wheels sliding 
on the wet ground. Doors were opening. 
Voices raised. Brad Johnson's booming 
above the others, "Wait, Slater — don't fire!" 
he pleaded. Now, thought Slater. Now. The 
boy blinked once, then attempted what Slater 
thought might be a sneer. 

The charge blew away Terry Johnson's 
head, disintegrating each fragment with a lin- 
gering succession of crackling puffs of blue 
lights. They died away in tiny sparks bouncing 
along the street. Brad Johnson's initial bellow 
of fear and rage echoed once along the now 
quiet street. A smiling Slater turned to face him. 

It was a recurring nightmare. 

Brad Johnson's dream world has become 

Painting hy Klaus Dietriek 


a monochrome, monotone hell. In that 
inferno, a twe I ve-y ear-old boy, trapped 
in an ISO protective suit far too large 
for him, screamed soundlessly, his 
breath misting the faceplate. As Brad 
clawed at the suiting's controls, trying 
to open it to help the boy, a green mist 
began to rise in the suit like stagnant 
water, slowly gathering around the 
boy's chin, then lips, then . , , 

Every time he awoke from the 
dream. Brad's hands were still clawing, 
hooked like talons, still trying to open 
the damned suit. He knew that boy. His 
face, so clear in the dream, blurred into 
something like a police fugitive sketch 
on waking, its features not really those 
of anyone. But he knew that boy. 

Another drink, he was certain, would 
not help him at all to figure out exactly 
what it was he was up against. But it 
would ease things a bit. Make him feel 
he was up to it. 

To what? 

To going up against Dr. Maelstrom. 
There. That wasn't so hard, was it? No, 
that special blended liquor didn't solve 
anything, but it sure made you breathe 
deeply (He eschewed the opti-cube. 
As It was, he'd been using it more than 
he thought safe. Psychosis was a real 
danger with the little old cube.) He 
checked the time, A few minutes yet 
before he had to leave for the share- 
holders' meeting. Brad poured himself 
three more fingers in a wide glass. 

After all, Richard Maelstrom had to 
piss like anybody else, didn't he? In fact, 
Brad remembered a time when he and 
the all-powerful head of Genetix were 
side by side at the company urinals. 
The Captain of all Captains of Industry 
had cupped his penis so that it would 
be safe from Brad's possible gaze. 

He took another sip of the amber 
bliss. Oh yes. Much better 

Brad concentrated on Raymond 
Masters, Dr, Maelstrom's dogsbody, for 
all his brilliance. Then, of course, there 
was Masters' wife, Sonia, What should 
he make of her? 

Brad stepped over the ISO window 
and stared out at the city he'd once 
loved. He looked past his reflection; an 
athlete going to seed. His hair, though 
still full, was lank and lifeless. His 
slacks, not quite freshly pressed. The 
once-trim waistline protruded above 
the loosened belt. 

The city's pinpoint windows winked 
like stars on the impossibly high edi- 
fices. How he had once loved that city- 
He tried to remember how he'd felt, 
that very long time ago. It was no use. 
Too much had happened since, Too 
many killings in the name of protection. 
Protection from CHBOMO; ttie disease 
that has inspired abject, deathly fear in 

76 DMNI 

all of us for how long now? 

And to Brad and his men had fallen 
the awful task of protecting the general 
populace. Protecting their lives, that is, by 
taking the lives of others, Of the afflicted, 

Sonia Masters had sworn to him that 
she was close, very close, to finding 
the key. Not according to her husband, 
the celebrated discoverer of the lock to 
that key, the CHROMO molecular chain, 
Masters' brilliant research had culmi- 
nated in the exposure ot the elegant 
pattern now so familiar through con- 
stant vidnews bulletins. Culminated. 

And then stopped. 

Somehow, Raymond Masters, su- 
perscientisl, winner ot every truly pres- 
tigious international prize, holder of 
some of the most complex and envied 
genetic patents, had come up against 
a solid wall. CHROMO yielded its out- 
line, its mathematically elegant pat- 
terns, like a postuhng flirt, then halted 
all further advances. Stopped at the 
moment of intimacy, the moment of rev- 
elation. The moment of pleasure. 

How then could Sonia Masters say 
she was fashioning the key? Was she 
deluded? She would not lie to Brad, 
Mot now. But if neither lie nor delu- 
sion—what? Not a real cure, surely 

Across the city he once loved, lay 
the Sprawl. In its labyrinthine alleys and 
hovels, the broken streets and filthy 
poverty, rebels without hope plotted. 
He pitied them. The military man in him 
haled them for their ineptitude, their 
lack of discipline, of power. 

He checked the time again, Now he 
was sure of what he would say at the 
meeting when called. It would be short 
and sweet and they wouldn't like it one 
bit, Brad Johnson rubbed at the stub- 
ble on his chin and decided that, if two 
drinks were this beneficial, why then. 
two more . . . 

Dr. Richard Maelstrom's passion was 
chess. Computers having long since 
become grandmaster players, Mael- 
strom tired easily of draw play, however 
elegant the moves. Three-dimensional 
chess was his game. He loved sucking 
in the computer programs, making 
seemingly random and illogical moves 
and then listening to the low whir as the 
idiot machine tried desperately to log 
in the strategy for future use. That ma- 
chine reminded him of Masters. He 
chuckled as he thought of Raymond, 

Masters had balked at first. Oh, he 
ranted a bit about his principles, his 
ethics, the moralfiy of it all — God help 
us[ In the end it all came down to the 
matter, The matter. The stuff that cannot 
be held in the hand, or smelled, or felt. 
But for Richard Maelstrom it was as 
>\e as air and just as important: it 

was power. 

Project Habitat. 

Maelstrom's computer reminded 
him of the time in soft, mellifluous 
tones. When Maelstrom grunted, the 
machine, mistaking it for absentmind- 
edness, said, "The shareholders' meet- 
ing, sir." Maelstrom waved at it 
impatiently. "Yes, yes, 1 know. Bishop 
captures pawn. Queen check," 

He smiled as the machine whirred, 
trying to make sense of the move, It 
was simple, really Take the pawn. The 
machine— for so Maelstrom thought of 
it, never giving it a name — would be 
forced to take the bishop with its king, 
thereby losing its castling privilege. It 
was a fair trade. Maelstrom felt. 

He had explained the project to 
Masters in words of many syllables, that 
being Masters' mode of understanding 
and expression. Maelstrom could al- 
most hear the whirring in the man's 
brain as he tried to log in the sense and 
store the strategy for future use. 

Genetix, the entity Maelstrom had 
fashioned as surely as it were clay in 
his hands, was embarking on the 
greatest, the most expansive industrial 
enterprise in the history of the planet 
Nothing less. Its scope was no longer a 
measurable form. It was beyond 
wealth, beyond power, It was ultimate. 

And Raymond Masters would be re- 

Of course, Masters didn't know that. 
It was his speech at the shareholders' 
conference that would trigger the ex- 
plosion. It would mushroom immediately 
and become The Project. And the Japan- 
ese, those double-dealing, genetically 
self-centered, would-be world leaders, 
would atone. Maelstrom liked that. 

They would atone. 

To have to explain it to Masters at 
any length was a measure of the man's 
essential smallness. But he was reach- 
able. The carrot, looming impossibly 
large before his astonished eyes, 
shielded him from the stick behind. He 
would, did. submit. ConAmore. 

His wife Sonia was another matter. 

Masters, Maelstrom mused, seemed 
to have only a tenuous control over her. 
Her constant probing into what she called 
the key to CHROMO's lock was— un- 
settling. She was not approachable 
through the same avenues of convic- 
tion as her husband. Nor was the used- 
up hulk of an ex-commander. Brad 
Johnson. He was no longer a factor, 
excepting insofar as he could still be 
used, public hero that he still was. And 
Maelstrom knew just how to use him. 

That was part of his genius. 

"Shareholders' meeting in 22 min- 
utes, 17 seconds," the computer re- 
minded him, It would not do so again, 

having been programmed against what 
his owner would consider nagging. 
Maelstrom called for the door and it 
whispered open. He turned and con- 
ceded the game. 

The machine, insofar as any macfiine 
could be, was puzzled, "You . . . con- 
cede, sir?" It whirred, then clicked, 
then accepted. As a smiling Maelstrom 
left to go to the Genetix shareholders' 
meeting, the singular turning point of 
his remarkable iife, he chuckled at the 
machine's inherent stupidity, and its 
surprising malleability. 

Spiral remembered his sixth birthday 
quite clearly His father overheard him 
blurting out as fast as his baby syntax 
would allow, the square root of a 
seven-figure number to his astonished 
uncle. He beat the boy until restrained 
by a horrified family. 

Father and son thereafter regarded 
each other only peripherally, suspi- 
ciously, and as seldom as possible, 
After CHROMO felled most of his fam- 
ily Spiral made his plans to leave. Only 
his mother kept him from fleeing their 
now uncrowded home. When the 
Squads killed her like an animal, her 
eyes blazing red with the disease. Spi- 
ral left. He felt a horrible guilt that her 
death was his freedom. But il was 
worth a lot to look over his shoulder on 
leaving and see his father staring after 
him, stunned and alone. 

He made his way easily into the first 
ranks ol the rebel cadres, They were 
cells, really. Five men to a cell. If cap- 
tured, they could not tell what they did 
not know, however ingenious the per- 
suasion, Their connections were cellu- 
lar; easily and often changed, 
impossible to trace. 

His ability to snake his way through 
cyberspace was invaluable. Any de- 
gree of classified information was open 
to him. He checked the day's haul. A 
pass to a conference on hoio-soiids 
and their artificial gestation — whatever 
that was about. Must be good for 
something. Some profit for him or the 
cause. He would bhng it to Mr Light- 
stone as he did with almost everything 
he brought back from the 'space. 

Lightstone was the man. He made it 
all happen. Without him there was no 
rebel cause; he was it. A first-class VIP 
pass for the Genetix shareholders' 
meeting tonight. With it, anyone would 
gain instant entry Unchallenged. That 
looked real good. Mr. Lightstone would 
know what to do with that. He was the 
man who was going to make things 
right. Though, in some vague way Spi- 
ral did not want things to be made 
right. He liked things the way they 
were; with infiltrators, spies, good guys. 

bad guys. The Sprawl and the City the 
biack wall to be broached with contra- 
band, guards to be bhbed, and above 
all what he alone could supply: info. 

As he made his circuitous way back 
to Lightstone— or where Lightstone 
might be— he glanced at a terminal 
way station with the usual longing. It 
was one of the new models, one he 
hadn't tried to tap into yet. No. Enough 
for the day He sorted through the rest 
of the take and put it neatly into the lit- 
tle boxes. Thai was how he thought of 
the processes of his brain: little boxes, 
like egg crates, all stuffed with info, 
and all instantly accessible 

Spiral knew he was important to the 
cause. Lightstone himself, his arm around 
Spiral's shoulder, would praise him to 
the others. Spiral regarded Mr, Light- 
stone with great love and something 
close to pity. For all his years, his courage 
and generalship, Mr, Lightstone was 
somewhat naive, He seemed to be 
sure of the cause winning, an end to 
the fighting. There was no end to the 
cause, the fight. Any more than there 
was an end to CHROMO, It was the 
disease that kept the struggle going. 
Spiral knew. While there was CHROMO, 
there would be the fight, the cause, the 
good guys and the bad guys. 

Spiral was proud to be known by 
name to every Squad in and out of the 
Sprawl. His capture or death, he knew, 
would have meant instant recognition, 
promotion for every man on the team 
that brought him down. 

He was twelve years old. 

Maelstrom considered the enigmatic 
Lightstone, leader of the rebel resis- 
tance. His legend had grown beyond 
reasonable belief. His narrow escapes, 
retold and told again throughout the 
Sprawl and into the cily, gave cre- 
dence to the biggest part of his 
mythos: that Lightstone was part holo, 
part machine, wholly untouchable. 
There would be time enough to deal 
with him and the rebels. They served a 
purpose, after all. Were it in Mael- 
strom's power to magically vaporize 
them all instantly, he would not, 

Maelstrom watched the glittering 
lights of the city blurring past the limo 
window. The chauffeur occasionally 
glanced at the tratf-ease screen as it 
computed the time it would take to 
reach the Genetix auditorium. Cruising 
the VIP lane made the trip easier, though 
there was some traffic this evening. 

Still, Lightstone was a bit beyond 
control Too many recent casualties 
among the Sanitation Squads. Morale 
was slipping. As good as Frank Slater 
was, he was not the leader Brad John- 
son used to be. 'Used to be' being the 

operative term. Yet Slater had what 
Maelstrom most needed: an amoral fe- 
rocity that could be turned, like a white- 
hot torch, against whatever target it 
was directed. Slater seemed to hate 
everything outside of himself with a 
paranoid simplicity, The man was in- 
valuable, A great tool. Like all tools, 
useful. Until the day they were no 
longer useful. Then . . . 

Lightstone stared at the pass with dis- 

The boy Spiral, had outdone himself. 
Lightstone doubted the cause could 
continue in its present escalation of 
harrying the Maelstrom structure with- 
out the gifted boy The Genetix share- 
holders' meeting tonight was no mere 
bean counting profil-and-loss affair. 
Though some members might have ex- 
pected it to be just a self-congratula- 
tory gathering, the atmosphere, the feel 
of the thing, told him otherwise. Some- 
thing was up. Something big Everyone 
who was anyone would be there 
tonight. Including, Lightstone mused, 
some previously uninvited guests, 
courtesy of our gifted young Spiral. 

Frank Slater's dream would come true, 

Brad Johnson would fall into his 
hands, along with the Masters bitch. 
There is injustice after all. Slater chuck- 
led, winking at one of his men. The man 
nodded uneasily The others did their best 
to ignore the weird, metallic chuckles 
emanating from Frank Slater's ISO suit. 
Brad Johnson's brother, sent out to 
kill Lightstone — a prime assignment 
given to baby brother and better han- 
dled by himself — had been turned in- 
stead into a traitor by that freakish 
entity. What infernal incantations the 
evil Lightstone had breathed into that 
little man's ear no one could tell, and 
Slater could not guess at. What a plea- 
sure — what a delight — it had been to 
waste the little bastard, Then to see big 
brother boo-hooing over the corpse — 
ah, that had been even better, It had 
taken three men to hold the raging 
Brad back from Slater. Or at least, 
thought Slater, that was how it ap- 
peared. Had their positions been re- 
versed. Slater knew it would take more 
than three men to stop him from what- 
ever damage he wished to inflict. When 
Johnson had calmed down sufficiently 
and the men had released him, staying 
close by at the ready, Johnson had 
threatened legal action. Slater almost 
spit into his faceplate in utter disgust. 

The whole damned family was like 
to like; self-nghteous poseurs, ineffec- 
tual as eunuchs. Johnson's appoint- 
ment, for example, to the theater of war 
where he had 'distinguished' himself 




In the mirror I saw her eyes 

narrow, her mouth tighien, 
The other woman turned from 
the window, laughing, one 
slim graceful arm pushing 
back a tendril of chestnut hair, 

Diane skinned her brown 
hair back from her face. "Is it 
too much to ask, Jack, 
honey, that just once after 
we mal^e love you don't go 
rushing off like there's a 
three-alarm fire? Just once?' 

■ c'dn't answer. 

to be treated like — " 

I clutched the edge of the 
dresser, which was both a 
scratched pressed-board 
"reproduction" and a pol- 
ished cherrywood lowboy. 
Two perfume bottles floated 
in front of me: yellow plastic 
sprayboitle and clean-lined 
blown glass. I squeezed my 
eyes shut. The ghostly Diane 
disappeared in the act of 
sauntering, slim and as- 
sured, toward the bathroom. 

asphalt parking lot, and it 
blended its three floors har- 
moniously with a low hillside 
whose wooded lines were 
repeated in horizontal 
stretches of brick and wood. 
The poster-cluttered lobby 
was full of hurried students 
trying to see harried advis- 
ers, and it was a marble 
atrium where scholars talked 
eagerly about the mind of 
man. I walked down the cor- 
'Idor toward my cubicle, one 


g ivcin was the only 


1 person I'd seen 


who came close to 


matching what \ 


she shonld have been. 

"I mean, how do you 
think that makes me feel? 
ma'am. We have an actual 
relationship here, we've 
been going out for three 
months, it doesn't seem a lot 
to ask that after we make 
love you don't just — " 

I didn't interrupt, I couldn't. 
The dizziness was strong 
this time; soon the nausea 
would follow. Sex did that. 
The intensity, Diane ranted, 
jerking herself to a kneeling 
position on the bed, framed 
by lumpy maroon window 
curtains opened a crack to a 
neighbor's peeling frame 
house and weedy garden. 
Across the room the other 
Diane stood framed by crim- 
son silk drapehes opened a 
crack to a meliowed-wood 
cottage riotous with climbing 
roses. She blew me a light- 
hearted kiss. Her eyes 
glowed with understanding. 

The nausea came, 

" — can'; seem to under- 
stand how it makes me feel 

80 OMNI 

" — don't even really look 
at me, not when we make 
love or—" 

Eyes shut, I groped for 
the bedroom door, 


I slammed the doors, 
both of them, and left the 
apartment before Diane 
could follow. With her sloppy 
anger, her overweight 
nakedness, her completely 
justified weeping. 

Outside was better, I drove 
my Escort to campus. The 
other car, the perfectly engi- 
neered driving machine with 
the sleek and balanced 
lines, shimmered in and out 
around me, but the vertigo 
didn't return, I'd never got- 
ten very intense about cars, 
and over the years I'd 
learned to handle the double 
state of anything that wasn't 
too intense. The rest I 
avoided. IVlostiy. 

The Aaron Fielding Fac- 
ulty Office Building jutted 
boxlike three stories from the 

of a row allotted to teaching 
assistants and post-docs. 

But Dr, Frances 
Schraeder's door was open, 
and I couldn't resist- 

She sat at her terminal, 
working, and when I 
knocked on the doorjamb 
(scarred metal, ghostly 
graceful moldtng), she 
looked up and smiled, 
"Jack! Oome look at thisl" 

I came m, with so much 
relief my eyes prickled. The 
material Fran's long, age- 
spotted fingers were held 
poised over her keyboard, 
and the ideal Fran's long, 
age-spotted fingers echoed 
them. The ideal Fran's while 
hair was fuller, but no whiter, 
and both were cut in simple 
short caps. The material 
Fran wore glasses, but both 
Frans' bright blue eyes, a lit- 
tle sunken, shone with the 
same alert tranquility. 

She was the only person 
I'd ever seen who came 
close to matching what she 
should have been. 

"This is the latest batch of 
phase space diagrams," 
Fran said. "The computer 
just finished them — I haven't 
even phnted them yet." 

I crouched beside her to 
peer at the terminal. 

"Don't look any more dis- 
organized to me than the 
last bunch," 

"Nor to me, either, unfor- 
tunately. Same old, same 
old." She laughed: in chaos 
theory, there is no same old, 
same old. The phase space 
diagrams were infinitely 
complex, never repeating, 
without control. 

But not completely. The 
control was there, not readily 
visible, a key we just didn't 
recognize with the mathe- 
matics we had. Yet, 

An ideal no one had seen, 

"I keep thinking that your 
young mind will pick up 
something I've missed," 
Fran said, "I'll make you a 
copy of these. Plus, Pyotr 
Solenski has published 
some new work in Berlin that 
I think you should take a 
look at. I downloaded it from 
the net and e-mailed you." 

I nodded, but didn't an- 
swer. For the first time today, 
calm flowed thrc 
soothing me. 




Fran had done 
pure mathematics all her life. 
For the last few years she — 
and I, as her graduate stu- 
dent — had worked in the 
precise and austere world of 
iterated function theory, 
where the result of a given 
equation is recycled as the 
starting value of the next 
repetition of the same equa- 
tion. If you do that, the re- 
sults are predictable: the 
sequences will converge on 
a given set of numbers. No 
matter what initial value you 
plug into the equation, with 
enough iterations you end 
up at the same figures, 
called atlractors. Every 

■ugh r 

5 good, 

equation can generate a set of attrac- 
tors, which iterations converge on lil<e 
homing pigeons flying back to their 

Until you raise the value plugged 
into the equation past a point called 
the Feigenbaum number. Then the se- 
quences produced lose all regularity. 
You can no longer find any pattern, At- 
tractors disappear. The behavior of 
even fairly simple equations becomes 
chaotic. The pigeons fly randomly, 
blind and lost. 

Or do they? 

Fran — like dozens of other pure 
mathematicians around the world — 
looked at all that chaos, and sorted 
through it, and thought she glimpsed 
an order to the pigeons' flight. A 
chaotic order, a controlled random- 
ness. We'd been looking at nonlinear 
differential equations, and at their al- 
tractors, which cause iterated values 
not to converge but to diverge. States 
which start out only infinitesimally sep- 
arated go on to diverge more and more 
and more . , . and more, moving to- 
ward some hidden values called, aptly 
enough, strange attractors. Pigeons 
from the same nest are drawn, through 
seeming chaos, to points we can iden- 
tify but not prove the existence of. 

Fran and I had a tentative set of 
equations for those idealized points. 

Only tentative. Something wasn't 
right. We'd overlooked something, 
something neither of us could see. It 
was there — I knew it — but we couldn't 
see it. When we did, we'd have proof 
that any ptiysical system showing an 
ultradependence on initial conditions 
must have a strange attractor buried 
somewhere in its structure. The impli- 
cations would be profound— for chaos 
mathematics, for fluid mechanics, for 
weather control. 

For me, 

I loved looking for that equation. 
Sometimes I thought I could glimpse it, 
behind the work we were doing, almost 
visible to me. But not often. And the 
truth I hadn't told Fran, couldn't tell her, 
was that I didn't need to find it, not in 
the way she did She was driven by the 
finest kind of intellectual hunger, a 
true scientist, 

I just wanted the peace and calm of 
looking. The same calm I'd found over 
the years In simple addition, in algebra, 
in calculus, in Boolean logic. In num- 
bers, which were not double state but 
just themselves, no other set of inte- 
gers or constants or fractals lying be- 
hind these ones, better and fuller and 
more fulfilled. Mathematics had its own 
arbitrary assumptions' — but no shad- 
ows on the cave wall. 

So I spent as long with Fran in front 

of the terminal as I could, and printed 
out the last batch of phase space dia- 
grams and spent time with those, and 
went over our work yet again, and read 
Pyotr Solenski's work, and then I could 
no longer put off returning to the mater- 
ial world. 

As soon as I walked Into Introduc^on to 
Set Theory my nausea returned. 

Mid October. Two more months of 
teaching this class, twice a week, 90 
minutes a session, to keep my fellow- 
ship, I didn't know if I could do it. But 
without the fellowship, I couldnt work 
witti Fran, 

Thirty-two faces bobbed in front of 
me, with 32 shimmering ghostly behind 
them. Different, So different. Jim Mulc- 
ahy: a sullen slouching 18-year-old with 
acned face and resentful eyes, flunking 
out — and behind him, ttie quiet as- 
sured Jim, unhamstrung by wfiatever 
had caused that terrible resentfulness, 
whatever kept him from listening to me 
or studying the text, Jessica Harris: 
straight As, thin face pinched by anxi- 

stucco) for students to wait for faculty, 
or each other, or enlightenment. One 
chair blocked fully a third of my door- 
way apparently shifted there by the girl 
who sat, head down, drawing in a note- 
book, My headache was the awful kind 
that clouds vision, I banged my knee 
into a corner of the chair (graffiti on var- 
nish on cheap pine; clean hand- 
stained hardwood). My vision cleared 
but my knee throbbed painfully 

"Do you mind not blocking the door- 
way Miss?" 

"Sorry," She didnt look up, or stop 

'■please move the damned chair." 

She hitched it sideways, never rais- 
ing her eyes from the paper. The chair 
banged along the hall floor, clanging 
onto my throbbing brain. Beside her, 
the ottier girl shrugged humorously, in 
charming self-deprecation. 

I forced myself, "Are you waiting for 
me? To see about Ihe class?" 

"No," Still she didn't look up, rude 
even for a student. I pushed past her, 
and my eyes fell on her drawing paper 

Attractors disappear. The behavior of even 

fairly simple equations becomes 

chaotic. The pigeons fly randomly, blind 

and lost. Or do they? 

ety, thrown into panic whenever she 
didn't instantly comprehend some 
point — and behind her, the confident 
Jessica who could wait a minute, study 
the logic, take pleasure in her eventual 
mastery of it. Sixty-four faces, and 64 
pieces ol furniture in two rooms, and 
sometimes when I turned away to the 
two blackboards (my writing firm on the 
pristine surface, and quavery over 
dust-filled scratches), even turning 
away wasn't enough to clear my head, 

"The students complain you don't 
look at them when you talk," my de- 
partment chair had said, "And you 
don't make yourself available after 
class to deal with their problems." 

He'd shimmered behind himself, 
a wise leader and an overworked 

Nobody had any questions. Nobody 
stayed after class. Nobody in the first 
32 students had any comments on infi- 
nite sets, and the second 32 I couldn't 
hear, couldn't reach, 

I left the classroom with a raging 
headache, and almost tripped over a 
student in the hall. 

Chairs lined the corridor walls 
(water-stained plaster; lively-textured 

It was full of numbers; a table for bi- 
nomial distribution of coin-tossing 
probabilities, with x as the probability 
of throwing n heads, divided by the 
probability of throwing an equal num- 
ber of heads and tails. The columns 
were neatly labeled. She was filling in 
the numbers as rapidly as her pen 
could write, to seven decimal places. 
From memory, or mental calculation? 

I blurted, "Most people don't do 

"Is that an observation, an insult, or 
a compliment?" 

All I could see of both girls were the 
bent tops of their heads: lank dirty 
blonde, feathery golden waves. 

She said, "Because if it's an obser- 
vation, then consider that I said, 'I al- 
ready know that,'" 

The vertigo started to take me. 

"If it's an insult, then I said, Tm not 
most people.'" 

I put out one hand to steady myself 
against the wall, 

"And if it's a compliment, I said, 
'Thanks.' I guess." 

The hallway pulsed. Students 
surged toward me, 64 of them, except 
that I was only supposed to teach 32 

and they weren't the ones who really 
wanted to learn, they were warped and 
deformed versions of what they should 
have been and I couldn't teach them 
because I hated them too much. For 
not being what they could have been. 
For throwing off my inner balance, the 
delicate metaphysical ear that coordi- 
nates reality with ideal with accep- 
tance. For careening past the 
Feigenbaum number, into versions of 
themselves where attraction was re- 
placed by turbulent chaos. ... I fell 
heavily against the wall, gulping air. 

"Hey!" The girl looked up. She had 
a scrawny bony face with a too-wide 
mouth, and a delicate, fine-boned face 
with rosy generous lips. But mostly I 
saw her eyes. They looked at me with 
conventional concern, and then at the 
wall behind me, and then back at me, 
and shock ran over me like gasoline 
fire, The girl reached out an arm to 
steady me, but her gaze had already 
gone again past me, as mine did 
everywhere but in the mirror, inexorably 
drawn to what [ had never seen: the 

So what? Just don't give in to it." 

"I think it's a little more complicated 
than — " 

"It's not. In fact, it's real simple. Just 
do what you want, anyway And don't 

"I'm not—" 

"You are. Just don't let the double 
vision stop you from trying anything 
you want to. / don't." She glared bel- 
ligerently. Behind her, the other Mia ra- 
diated determination tempered by 

"Mia, I do try to do the things I want. 
Math, My dissertation. Teaching." Not 
that I wanted to be doing that, 

"Good," she snapped, and looked 
over my shoulder, "Double vision 
doesn't have to defeat us if we don't let 

I said, "Have you ever found any 
others like us?" What did my ideal self 
look like? What strengths could she 
see on his face? 

"No, you're the only one. I thought I 
was alone." 

"Me, too. But if there's two of us. 

She sat across from me, and the other 

Mia sat behind her, green eyes 

hopeful in her lovely face. Hopeful that 

she was no longer alone. 

"It affects you differently than me," IVlia 
said over coffee in the student cafete- 
ria. I'd agreed to go there only because 

It was nearly empty "I don't get nause- 
ated or light-headed I just get mad, It's 
such a fucking waste." 

She sat across from me, and the 
other Mia sat behind her, green eyes 
hopeful in her lovely face. Hopeful that 
we could share this, that she was no 
longer alone, that I might be able to 
end her loneliness. The physical Mia 
didn't look hopeful. She looked just as 
furious as she said she was, 

"Nine times out of ten, Jack, people 
could become their ideal selves, or at 
least a whole lot fucking closer, if 
they just tried. They're just too lazy 
or screwed up to put some backbone 
into it," 

I looked away from her "For me," I 
said hesitantly, "I guess it's mostly the 
unfairness of it that's such a burden 
Seeing the ideal has interfered with 
every single thing I've ever wanted to 
do with my life." Except mathematics. 

She squinted at me. "Unfairness? 


there could be more. Maybe we 

"Damn it. Jack, at least look at me 
when you're talking to me!" 

Slowly my gaze moved back to her 
face, Her physical face. Her mouth 
gaped in anger; her eyes had nar- 
rowed to ugly slits. My gaze moved 

"Stop it, you assholel Stop it!" 

"Don't call me names, Mia." 

"Don't tell me what to do! You have 
no right to tell me what to do! You're no 
different from — " 

I said, "Why would i look at you if 1 
could look at her?" 

She stood up so abruptly that her 
chair fell over. Then she was gone. 

I put my hands over my eyes, blot- 
ting out all sight. Of everything. 

"What was this system before it started 
to diverge?" Fran said. 

She held in her hands a phase 
space diagram I hadn't seen before. 
Her eyes sparkled. Even so. there was 
something heavy around her mouth, 
something that wasn't in the Fran be- 
hind her, and for a minute I was so star- 
tled I couldn't concentrate on the 

printouts. The ideal Fran, too, looked 
different from the day before. Her skin 
glowed from within, almost too strongly, 
as if a flashlight burned behind its pale 
fine-grained surface. 

"That was rhetorical. Jack. 1 know 
what the system was before it di- 
verged — the equations are there on the 
desk. But this one looks different. 
See . . . here . . . ." 

She pointed and explained. Nonlin- 
ear systems with points that start out 
very close together tend to diverge 
from each other, into chaos. But there 
was something odd about these partic- 
ular diagrams: they were chaotic, as al- 
ways around a strange attractor, but in 
nonpatterns I hadn't seen before. I 
couldn't quite grasp the difference. Al- 
most, but not quite. 

I said, "Where are those original 

"There, On that paper— no, that 

"You're using Arnfelser's Constant? 

"Look at the equations again " 

I did, and this time I recognized 
them, even though subatomic particle 
physics is not my field. James Arn- 
felser had won the Nobel two years 
ago for his work on the behavior of 
electron/positron pairs during the first 
30 seconds of the universe's life, Fran 
was mucking around with the chaos of 

I looked at the phase space dia- 
grams again. 

She said, "You can almost see it, 
can't you? Almost . , . see , . ," 


She had her hand to her midriff. 
"It's nothing, Jack. Just indigestion on 
top of muscle tension on top of sleep- 
lessness. I was up all night on those 

"Sit down." 

"No, I'm fine. Really I am." She 
smiled at me, and the skin around her 
eyes, a mass of fine wrinkles, stretched 
tauter And behind her, the other Fran 
didn't smile. At all. She looked at me, 
and 1 had the insane idea that some- 
how, for the first time, she saw me. 

It was the first time I'd ever seen 
them diverge. 

"Fran, I want you to see a doctor" 

"You're good to be so concerned. 
But I'm fine. Look, Jack, here on the 
diagram , , ," 

Both Frans lit up with the precise 
pleasure of numbers. And I — out of 
cowardice, out of relief— let them. 

". . . can't understand a thing in this 
fucking course." 

The voice was low, male, the words 
distinct but the speaker not identifiable. 

I turned from writing equations on the 
board, Ttiirty-two/sixty-four faces swam 
in front ol me. ''Did one of you say 

Silence. A few girls iooked down at 
tfieir notebooks. Tine rest of tfie stu- 
dents stared back at me, stony, I 
turned back to tfie board and wrote an- 
other half equation. 

", . , fucking moron wfio couldn't 
teacfi a dog to piss." A different voice. 

My hand, holding the chalk, shook. I 
went on writing, 

", , , shouldn't be allowed in front of 
a classroom," This time, a girl, 

I turned around again. My stomach 
churned The students stared back at 
me. They were all in on this, or at least 
tacitly complicit. 

I heard my voice shake, "If you have 
any complaints about how this course 
is being taught, you are advised to lake 
them up with the department chair, or 
to express them on the course evalua- 
tion form distributed at the end of the 
semester, Ivleanwhlie, we have addi- 
tional work to cover," I turned back to 
the board, 

". , , fucking prick who can't make 
anything clear," 

My chalk stopped, in ttie middle of 
writing an integer. 1 couldn't make it 
move again, No matter how hard I con- 
centrated, the chalk wouldn't complete 
the number, 

". , , trying to make us flunk so he 
looks bigger," 

Slowly I turned to face the class. 

They sal in front of me, slumping or 
smirking or grinning inanely. Empty 
faces. Stupid faces. A few embar- 
rassed faces. Fourth-rate minds, inter- 
ested only in getting by, ugly gaping 
maws into which we were supposed lo 
stuff the brilliance of Maxwell and 
Boitzmann and von Neumann and Rus- 
sell and Arnfelser. So they could masti- 
cate it and spit it on the floor. 

And behind them , , , behind 
them . . , 

"Get out," I said. 

One hundred twenty-eight eyes 
opened wide, 

"You heard mel" I heard myself 
screaming. "Get out of my classrooml 
Get out of this universityl You don't 
belong here, it's criminal that you're 
here, none of you are worth the flame 
to set you on fire! Get out! You've di- 
verged too far from what you . . . what 
you . , ." 

A few boys in the front row saun- 
tered out, A girl in the back started to 
cry Then some of them were yelling at 
me, shrieking, only the shrieking wasn't 
in my classroom, it was in the hall, 
down the hall, it was sirens and bells 
and outside the window, an emergency 

medical van, and they were carrying 
Fran out on a stretcher, her long-fin- 
gered hand dangling limply over the 
side, and nobody would listen to me 
explain thai the terrible thing was not 
that she wasn't moving but that lying on 
the stretcher so quietly were not two 
Frans, as there should have been, but 
only one. Only one. 

I didn't go to the funeral, 

I took Fran's last set of diagrams, 
and copied her files off her hard drive, 
and packed a bag. Before I checked 
into the Morningside Motel on Route 
64, I left messages on Diane's answer- 
mg machine, and the department 
chair's, and my landlady's, 

" — don't want la see you again. It's 
not your fault, butlmeanit I'm sorry" 

"I resign my teaching fellowship, 
and my status as a post-doc at this 

"My rent is paid through the end ol 
the month. I will not be returning. 
Please pack my tfiings and send them 
to my sister, COD, at this address. 
Thank you." 

I bolted the motel door, unwrapped 
two bottles of Jack Daniels, and raised 
my glass to the mirror 

But no toast came. To him? Who 
would not have been doing this stupid 

it was, and grieved it with courage and 
grace? Who would have figured out the 
best way to cope with his problems 
from a healthy sense of balance unde- 
stroyed by knowing exactly what he 
could never, ever, ever measure up to? 
I'd be damned if I'd drink to him, 

"To Fran," I said, and downed it 
straight, and went on downing it 
straight until I couldn't see the other, 
better room lurking behind this one, 

Even drunk, you dream. 

I didn't know that, I'd expected the 
hangovers, and the throwing up, and 
the terrible, blessed blackouts, I'd ex- 
pected the crying jag. And the emo- 
tional pain, like a dull drill. But I'd never 
been drunk for four days before. I'd 
thought that when I slept the pain 
would go away, into oblivion, I didn't 
know I'd dream. 

I dreamed about numbers. 

They swam in front of me, pounded 
the inside of my eyelids, chased me 
through dark and indistinct land- 
scapes. They hunted me with knives 
and guns and fire. They hurt. I didn't 
wake screaming, or disoriented, but I 
did wake sweating, and in the middle 
of the night I hung over the toilet, puk- 

ing, while numbers swam around me 
on the wavering, double floor. The 
numbers wouldn't go away. And neither 
would tine thing I was trying to drink 
myself out of. No matter how drunk I 
got. the double vision stayed. Except 
for the equations, and they hurt just as 
much as the polished floor I couldn't 
touch, the cool sheets I couldn't feel, 
the competent Jack I couldn't be. 
Maybe the equations hurt more. They 
were Fran's. 

Take Arnfelser's Constant. Plug it 
into a set of equations describing a 
noniinear system . . . 

Phase space diagrams. Diverging, 
diverging, gone. A smalt difference in 
initial slates and you gel widely differ- 
ing slates, you gel cfiaos , . . 

Tate Arnfelser's Constant Use it as 
r Let X. equal , . . 

A small difference in inilial stales. A 
Fran wtio diverged only a small 
amount, a Jack who . . . 

Take Arnfelser's equation . . . 

I almost saw it. But not quite. 

I wasn't good enough to see it. Only 

meant, "How the fuck did you get in 

"Well, didn't you see how I got in 
here? Weren't you even conscious?" 
She walked closer and went on staring 
at me, in soiled underwear, the empty 
bottle on the floor. Something moved 
behind their eyes. 

"How did you find me?" it hurt to 

"Hacked your Visa account. You put 
this dump on it." 

"Go away, IVlia." 

"When I'm good and ready Jesus, 
look at you." 

"So don't." 

I tried to roll over, but couldn't, so I 
closed my eyes. 

Mia said, "1 didn't think you had it in 
you. No, 1 really didn't." Her tone was 
so stupid — such a mix of ignorance 
and some sort of stupid feminine 
idealization of macho asshole behav- 
ior — that I opened my eyes again. She 
was smiling. 

"Get. Out. Now." 

"Not fill you tell me what this is all 

The knock on the door woke me, 
sounding like a battering ram. Someone 

was picking the lock. I lay on the 
bed and watched, my anger mounting. 

he was. 

I poured another whiskey. 

The knock on the door woke me. It 
sounded like a battering ram. 

"Get out. I paid at the desk this 
morning I don't want maid service!" 

The shouting transferred the batter- 
ing ram to my head, but the knocking 

Someone started picking the lock, 
I lay on the bed and watched, my 
anger mounting. The chain was on the 
door But when the lock was picked the 
door opened the length of the chain, 
and a hand inserted a pair of wirecut- 
ters. Two pairs of wireculters, physical 
and ideal. Four hands. I didn't even 
move. If the motel owner wanted me, 
he could have me. Or the cops. I had 
reached some sort of final decimal 
place — I simply didn't care. 

The chain, cheap lightweight links, 
gave way, and the door opened, ivlia 
walked in. 

"Christ, Jack. Look at you." 
I lay sprawled across the bed, and 
both Mias wrinkled their noses at the 

I said, even though it wasn't what 1 

34 OMMI 

about. Is it Dr. Schraeder? They told 
me you two were pals." 

Fran. The pain started again. And 
the numbers. 

"That's it, isn't it, Jack? She was your 
friend, not just your adviser. I'm sorry" 

[ said, "She was the only person I 
ever met who was what she was sup- 
posed to be." 

"Yeah? Well, then, I'm really sorry 
I'm not what I'm supposed to be, I 
know. And you sure the hell aren't. Al- 
though, you know . . . you look closer 
to him this morning than you ever did 
on campus. More . . . real." 

I couldn't shove her out the door, 
and I couldn't stop her talking, and I 
couldn't roll over without vomiting. So I 
brought my arm up and placed it 
across my eyes. 

"Don't cry, Jack. Please don't cry" 

"I'm not—" 

"On second thought, do cry. Why 
the fuck nof?Your friend is dead. Go 
ahead and cry if you want to!" And she 
knelt beside me, despite what I must 
smell like and look like, and put her 
arms around me while, hating every 
second of it, I cried. 

When 1 was done, I pushed her 

away. Drawing every fiber of my body 
into it, I hauled myself off the bed and 
toward the bathroom. My stomach 
churned and the rooms wavered It 
took two hands to grope along the wall 
to the shower. 

The water hit me, hard and cold and 
slinging. I stood under it until I was 
shivering, and it took that long to real- 
ize I still had my briefs on. Bending 
over to strip them off was torture. My 
toothbrush scraped raw the inside of 
my mouth, and the nerves in my brain. 
I didn't even care that when I stag- 
gered naked into the bedroom, Mia 
was still there. 

She said, "Your body is closer to his 
than your face." 

"Get out, Mia." 

"I told you, when I'm ready. Jack, 
there aren't any more of us. At least not 
that I know of. Or that you do. We can't 
fight like this." 

I groped in my overnight bag, un- 
touched for four days, for fresh under- 
wear. Mia seemed different than she 
had in the cafeteria: gentler, less abra- 
sive, although she looked the same. I 
didn't care which — or who — she was. 

"We need each other," Mia said, 
and now there was a touch of despera- 
tion in her voice. I didn't turn around 

"Jack — listen to me, at least. See 

"1 see you," t said. "And I don't want 
to. Not you, not anybody. Get out. Mia." 


"Have it your way." 

I pulled on my clothes, gritted my 
teeth to get on my shoes, left them un- 
tied. I braced myself lo push past her. 

She stood in the exact center of the 
room, her hands dangling helplessly at 
her sides. Behind her the other Mia 
stood gracefully her drooping body full 
of sorrow. But the physical Mia, face 
twisted In an ugly grimace, was the 
only one looking at me. 

I stopped dead. 

They always both looked at me. At 
the same time, Everybody's both; Mia, 
Diane, Fran, the department chair, my 
students, Where one looked, the other 
looked. Always. 

Mia said, more subdued than I had 
ever heard her "Please don't leave me 
alone with this Jack. I . . . need you." 

The other Mia looked across the 
room, not over my shoulder. Not at him. 
At . . . what? 

From a small difference in initial 
slates you get widely differing states 
with repeated iterations. Diverging, di- 
verging, chaos . . . and somewhere in 
there, the strange attractor The means 
to make sense of it. 

And just like that, I saw the pattern 
in the phase space diagrams. I saw 

the equations. 

"Jack? Jack!" 

"Just let me . . . write them 
down , , ," 

But there wasn't any chance I'd tor- 
get them. They were there, so clear 
and obvious and perfect, exacliy what 
Fran and i had been searching for, 

Mia cried, "You can't just leave! 
We're the only two peopie like this!" 

1 tinished scribbiing the equations 
and straightened. My head ached, my 
stomach wanted to puke, my intestines 
prickled and squirmed. My eyes were 
so puffy I couid bareiy see out of them. 
But i saw her, looking at me with her 
scared bravado, and I saw the other 
one, not looking at me at all. Diverging. 
She was right— we were the only two 
people like this, linked in our own 
chaotic system. And the states I could 
see were diverging, 

"No," I got out, just before I had to 
go back into the bathroom, "There 
aren't two. Soon , . . only one of you." 

She stared at me like I was crazy, all 
the time I was puking, And the other 
Jack was doing God knows what. 

I didn't really care. 

I haven't published the equations yet, 

I will, of course. They're too impor- 
tant not to publish: proof that any phys- 

ical system showing an uitradepen- 
dence on initial conditions must have a 
strange attractor buried somewhere tn 
its structure, The implications for un- 
derstanding chaos are profound. But 
it's not easy to publish this kind of inno- 
vation when you no longer have even a 
post-doc position at a decent univer- 
sity. Even though Fran's name will go 
first on the article 

I may just put it out on the Internet, 
Without prior peer review, without copy- 
right protection, without comment. Out 
onto the unstructured, shifting realities 
of the net. After all, I don't really need 
formal attention, I don't really want it. 

I have what I wanted: relief. The 
other faces — other rooms, other build- 
ings, other gardens— are receding 
from me now, I catch only glimpses of 
them out of the corner of my eye, di- 
minished in size by the distance be- 
tween us, and getting smaller all the 
time. Diverging toward their own 
strange attractors. 

It's not the same for Mia, When she 
said at the Morningside Motel that I 
looked more like the ideal Jack than 
ever before, it wasn't a compliment to 
my unshaven frowziness. For her, the 
phase space diagrams are converg- 
ing. She can barely discern the ideal 
separate from the physical now: the 

Page 2, clockwise from top: Joseph 
Daniel Fielder, Adrian Day, Chris 
Sprmgman, Amy Gulp: Page 4: 
Rosemary Webber; Page 8: Kun Wang; 
Page 10, top and bottom; Bob Lorenze: 
Page 10, middle: courtesy of Publisher, 
Page 12: Tim Hussey; Page 14: Andy 
Washnik; Page 16: Courtesy of 
California Institute at Technology: Page 
23: Roland Cat; Page 24, top: David 
Scharf/Peter Arnold Inc.: Page 24, bot- 
tom: John Lund/Tony Stone Images; 
Page 25, left: Super Stock; Page 25, 
right: Aviation Week/Gamma Liaison; 
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Lange, R. Grieve, R. Lutz/Rutgers 
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Forster/Tony Stone Images: Page 27, 
top: Ron Stroud/Masterfile; Page 27, 
bottom: Etienne De Mai glaive/Gamma 
Liaison: Pages 36-38: Slanislaw 
Fernandes; Pages 42-43: Sandra Ivliller; 
Page 57: Adrian Day; Pages 58-64: 
Dimaccio; Page 65, top: Chris 
rvioore/Arl Bank London; Page 65, bot- 
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Giger; Pages 106-107: Courtesy 
Barbara Gladstone Gallery. New York: 
Page 116 and 119; Bob 
120: tVlcKenzie Photography. 

States are that close. 

She smiles at everyone. People are 
drawn to her as to a magnet; she treats 
them as if their real selves are their 
ideal ones. 

For now. 

The crucial characteristic about 
chaotic systems is that they change 
unpredictably. Not as unpredictably as 
before the Schraeder Equations, but 
still unpredictably Once you fall into 
the area past the Feigenbaum number, 
slates converge or diverge chaotically. 
Tomorrow Mia could see something 
else. Or I could, 

I have no idea what the ideal Mia 
was looking at when she gazed across 
the motel room, away from both me 
and him, When you are not the shadow 
on the cave wall but the genuine ideal, 
what is the next state? 

1 don't want to know. But it doesn't 
matter whether or not I want it If that state 
of life comes into being, then it does, 
and all we can do is chase it through 
the chaos of dens and labyrinths and 
underground caves, trying to pin it mo- 
mentarily with numbers, as our states 
diverge from what we know toward 
something I cannot even imagine, and 
don't want lo 

Although, of course, that too may 
change, DO 

"Do you have one so simple even a parent could beat it?" 





Depressed for weeks, worried his 
career was going nowhere, he 
mulled over a set oi apparently un- 
solvabte problems. Otherwise unemployed, 
Whitfield Diffie was a househusband about 
to cook dinner for his wife, when he sat down 
in the living room of their borrowed quarters 
to ponder once more the ideas that had 

plagued him for a decade, Diffie cared 
about hidden writing — codes, ciphers, crypto- 
grams — because he had a passionate in- 
terest in [keeping people's private lives 
private, A Sixties radical with blond hair 
flowing down his back, he saw cryptogra- 
phy was Ihe only way for citizens to protect 
themselves from government snooping. He 


also knew, even in the early Seventies, that cryptograpiiy 
was vital to home shopping, digital money, automated of- 
fices, and other business-related activity planned for the in- 
formation highway. Society could never slop doing business 
face to face and move into computerized negotiations with- 
out the invention of digital signatures — electronic "handwrit- 
ing" as unique as that produced by pen and inl^. And on that 
spring day in 1975, Diffie suddenly saw how to do it. The so- 
lution flitted across his mind, left momentarily, then came 
back in "a real adrenaline rush of excitement," In a brilliant 
stroke he solved two of the biggest problems in modern 
cryptography, and, as a bonus, realized for the first time 
they were related. 

In classical cryptography, one secret key is used both to 
encrypt and decrypt messages. Diffie saw that this key 
could be split; Half would be public knowledge; half would 
be kept secret. This idea of separate but mathematically re- 
lated keys allowed "two magical things" to happen. People 

mathematics and always a poor student, Diffie graduated 
from MIT with a math degree in 1965. To avoid the Vietnam 
War, he took draft-deferred jobs as a computer programmer 
at MIT and then Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. 
Diffie's early interest in cryptography was rekindled when his 
boss, Al pioneer John McCarthy, was asked in 1972 to look 
into security on the ARPAnet. the military communications 
network that later grew into the Internet. 

Diffie eventually quit his jOb to become the world's first 
public cryptographer. This began with car trips back and 
forth across the continent, wilh stops to buttonhole any sci- 
entist willing to talk about cryptography One conversation 
led back to Stanford and Martin Hellman. a young professor 
of electrical engineering. From 1975 to 1978, Diffie and Hell- 
man co-auihored a series of now-classic papers on public 
key cryptography. In 1992, the Swiss Federal Institute of 
Technology awarded Diffie an honorary doctorate in recog- 
nition of his creation: public key cryptography. 

can send you messages, encrypted with your public key 
that can be read only with your private key. Or conversely, 
you can send out cryptograms that can be read by any- 
body, but recognizable as only coming from you. The first 
realization solves the problem of making cryptography avail- 
able to everyone. The second allows for digital signatures. 
Split-key or public key cryptography has been adopted by 
companies ranging from AT&T to Apple, and Diffie's crypto- 
graphic protocols underlie the security measures incorpo- 
rated into all modern computer networks, 

Diffie met his wife at the door that evening with a sober 
look on his face. "I've just discovered a very important idea," 
he said. "I don'l think our lives will ever be the same again." 

Diffie, who describes his life as "a model of how not to 
get things done at the right lime," was born to Campbellite 
Southern Baptist parents in 1944. But he grew up in a mainly 
Jewish section of Queens, New York, where his father taught 
Spanish and Latin American history at City College and his 
mother worked as an independent scholar on the French 
woman of letters Madame de Sevigne. Largely self-taught in 


Secret writing dates back io Egyptian hieroglyphics. Codes 
and ciphers have always been jealously guarded secrets of 
state until Diffie and fellow cryptocommandos, who call them- 
selves cypherpunks, began developing expertise on their 
own. A field traditionally reserved for spies, soldiers, and dip- 
lomats is now a hot topic on the Internet, with public access 
to cryptography being the latest battle cry in the information 
revolution, "For the past few years I've made my living out of 
politics," says Diffie, who writes position papers and testifies 
before congressional committees. His latest cause is the 
Clipper chip, an attempt by the U.S. government to embed 
cryptographic hardware into the nation's telecommunica- 
tions channels. These chips will contain back doors allowing 
the government to eavesdrop on telephone calls and com- 
puter messages. Diffie argues that Americans must oppose 
this effort to put the cryptographic genie back in the bottle. 

Our talks began in Diffie's office at Sun Microsystems's 
campus in San Mateo and ended at his second office in 
downtown Palo Alio. At dinner Diffie's wife, Egyptologist 
Mary Fischer, recounted with tears in her eyes the scene of 

coming home to hear of her husband's 
great discovery "He was right. Our 
lives were not the same after that." 

— Thomas Bass 

Omni: How do yoj secure all the 
phones In North America'' 
Diffie: I'd mulled this problem over in 
my mind for five years, and when I got 
to Stanford in 1969, I began thinking 
about a seemingly unrelated problem: 
How do you conduct business using 
home computer terminals? I didn't see 
how to create a paperless office without 
having what we now call "digital signa- 
tures" on your electronic documents. 
Omni: How did you solve the problem 
of digital signatures? 
Diffie; I was aware of two sorts of au- 
thentication mechanisms. The first, now 
used to protect the password table in 
the UNIX time-sharing system, employs 
"one-way functions," These are easy to 
compute in one direction, but hard in 
the other. The second is called chal- 
lenge and response. Military fire-con- 
trol radars send out a randomly 
selected challenge and only friendly 
aircraft know how to encrypt the chal- 
lenge correctly and return it to the 
radar for verification. 

One of these protects you against 
somebody studying the lock and figur- 
ing out how to make a key; the other 
against eavesdroppers on the channel 
watching the process and knowing 
how to repeat it, I was trying to com- 
bine botfi systems in one package 
when I saw thai it was possit^le to de- 
sign a mechanism that could verify a 
response to a challenge, even though 
it could not have figured out the re- 
sponse. This is what we now call a dig- 
ital signature, I wrote the idea down in 
my journal and forgot about it. It got 
added to a list called "Problems for an 
Ambitious Theory of Cryptography," 

About two weeks later I had another 
breakthrough. In between cleaning and 
cooking, I suddenly realized the prob- 
lem could be turned around to solve 
the question bothehng me since 1965: 
How do you initiate secure communica- 
tion with somebody you've never met? 
I'd already seen that by means of an 
asymmethc pair of transformations that 
are the inverses of each other, a crypto 
system could either sign or verify a sig- 
nature. Then I realized if I did the verifi- 
cation (the nonsecret part) first, I could 
encrypt messages by means of one- 
way functions — in such a way that only 
one person could get them back. 
Omni: Did you shout. Eureka! 
Diffie; I walked downstairs to get a 
Coke, and almost forgot about the idea. 
I remembered I'd been thinking about 
something interesting, but couldn't 

quite recall what it was. Then it came 
back, and I was acutely aware, for the 
first time in my work on cryptography 
that I'd discovered something really 
valuable. After dinner I walked down to 
fvlarty Hellman's house. We'd yet to de- 
velop the term "digital signature," so 
we talked instead about things like 
"one-way authentication." It took me an 
hour but finally Marty understood and 
got as excited as I was. 
Omni: How does public key cryptogra- 
phy work? 

Diffie: In classical cryptography, the 
cryptographic variable or key controls 
how plaintext is transformed into ci- 
phertexl. Every key does it differently. 
The critical thing in classical systems is 
their symmetry. Knowing how to en- 
crypt messages tells you how to de- 
crypt them. My big realization was 
understanding how to build a crypto- 
graphic system in which each commu- 
nication was controlled by not one, but 
two keys. The two keys are related, so 
anything you encrypted with one can 
be decrypted with the other But they 

along with communications intelli- 
gence, is one of two major functions of 
the National Security Agency COM- 
SEC moves tons of keys around the 
world every day to cryptographic de- 
vices, mostly military using a range of 
systems: key lists, paper tape, cards, 
disks. , . . When a ship comes into 
port, the cryptocustodians go ashore 
with their locked briefcases and pick 
up tens of pounds of material for key- 
ing their machines. Prior to Aldrich 
Ames, the two most famous spy scan- 
dals in a generation involved the sale 
of cryptographic keys to the Rus- 
sians — who read our traffic. 

With conventional symmetric cryp- 
tography, you can talk securely only to 
people to whom keys have been dis- 
tributed. This just won't do for securing 
a telephone system. There's no physi- 
cal way to do it. Distributing crypto- 
graphic keys to the entire population 
would be the equivalent of sending 
everyone a registered letter when you 
installed your phone, jusl in case you 
ever wanted to talk to them. The best 

I was acutely aware, for the first time in 

my work on cryptography, 

that I'd discovered something valuable. I 

walked downstairs to get a Coke. 

also have the property that it you're told 
only one key, you can't figure the other 
one out. We subsequently called these 
the public key and the private key. 
Omni: What do you gain by splitting the 
two keys? 

Diffie: Imagine you want to send me a 
secure message. You look up my pub- 
lic key in your phone book, plug it into 
your machine, and encrypt a message 
for me in such a way that it can be read 
only with my private key. I generate the 
key pair and disseminate my public 
key as widely as possible, but keep the 
private key to myself. Whenever a mes- 
sage encrypted with my public key 
comes in, I can read it. Since my pri- 
vate key is required to read it, nobody 
else can This was the invention's first, 
more mysterious application It got us 
over the fundamental problem in all 
previous systems — the only way for 
you and me to talk cryptographic ally is 
if we first have an "out of band commu- 
nication," as they say in the jargon, in 
which we exchange keys. 

Key distribution is a major part of 
classical cryptography In the U.S. gov- 
ernment, it's handled by the COMSEC, 
or materials control system which, 

you can do is have "key distribution 
centers" that share keys among sub- 
scribers and make introductions. 
Omni: What's wrong with that? 
Diffie; The key distribution center must 
set up every call, and worse, it can 
read all the traffic. But public key cryp- 
tography reduces key storage require- 
ments to the point where there is only 
one secret for every person in the net- 
work, and that secret never has to 
move, The key gets manufactured in 
your own cryptographic device, and 
stays there. The public key is the mov- 
able part. In practice, I get my name 
and public key signed by a sort of no- 
tary public, so you can recognize it as 
belonging to me. Then my secure 
phone calls yours and hands you my 
credentials. "Whitfield Diffie is calling 
and his public key is such and such." 
Some central authority is still involved 
in introducing us, but it can no longer 
read the traffic. 

Omni: How did you design keys that 
are both public and private? 
Diffie: It's not obvious to you because it 
isn't obvious. It wasn't obvious to me, 
and I did not discover a solution to the 
problem as I originally posed it. Marty 

Hellman and I discovered another ap- 
proach — Djffie-Hellman — that solves 
many problems better But three math- 
ematicians al MIT, Ronald Rivest, Adi 
Shamir, and Leonard Adieman [RSA], 
actually solved the original problem. 
Omni: How does this approach, the 
RSA system, work? 

Dittle: Start with the notion of a one-way 
function. If you took algebra in high 
school, you probably remember how 
much easier it is to raise numbers to 
powers than it is to take roots. If I ask 
you for the fifth power of the number 2, 
it takes a few seconds of multiplying to 
discover that 2^5 =^2x2x2x2x2 = 
32. But i! I ask you what's the fifth root 
of 32, it takes longer to figure out. If I 
give you a number as big as ten billion, 
it'd take you a very long lime to calcu- 
late ils liflh root. So raising numbers to 
powers is a one-way function with re- 
spect to the inverse operation of ex- 
tracting roots. 

Another example is multiplying versus 
factoring. If I give you two numbers — 
31 and 97, which are both prime — you 
can easily multiply them: 3007. But if I 
give you the product, 3007, then find- 
ing out that 31 and 97 are its factors is 
much harder. The fact that multiplying 
prime numbers is easier than factoring 
them has been a fundamental problem 

in mathematics since the Greeks. 

RSA, which to date is the most suc- 
cessful public key cryptographic sys- 
tem, combines these two phenomena. 
Raising numbers to powers is a one- 
way function in relation to extracting 
roots. Multiplying prime numbers is a 
one-way function relative to factoring. If 
the product Is big enough, and you 
alone know its factors, this constitutes 
a trapdoor that lets you and only you 
decrypt messages. 
Omni: How does it work? 
Diffie: Your cryptographic equipment 
manufactures two large primes, each 
of which is 300 digits long, and muldplies 
them together to gel a product 600 dig- 
Its long. These numbers are big: they 
utterly dwarf any that describe phe- 
nomena in the physical world. The 
number of particles in the universe, for 
example, is estimated to be less than 
100 digits long. 

The 6Q0-digit number, the product, 
is made public. It's immeasurably diffi- 
cult for anybody but you to factor this 
number. The largest number of this 
type that's been factored— last year — is 
"RSA Challenge Number 129." A 129- 
digit number Is a long way from a 600- 
digit number. First proposed in the 
Seventies, the Challenge was only 
solved by hundreds of computers 

working together for years. 
Omni: What did you do as a kid? 
Diffie: The same thing I do as an adult, 
I mostly remember staring off into 
space. From time to lime I did well in 
mathematics. I read [Robert] Heinlein's 
The Rolling Stones, about a family who 
fixes up an old spaceship and travels 
from the moon to the other planets. The 
family believes mathematics Is the key 
ic understanding the world. One sum- 
mer, I went off to Europe carrying the 
Chemical Rubber Company Handbook 
of Mathematical Tables, It had no text, 
just tables of formulas and integrals. 
The next summer 1 studied G. H. 
Hardy's Course of Pure Mathematics. 
This was a better choice, but probably 
not as good as taking Courant's calcu- 
lus. Still, by the time I entered MIT. I 
probably knew half as much mathe- 
matics as I know now. 

As a kid I was passionately inter- 
ested in military things, but being an in- 
tellectual snob, I thought cryptography 
was vulgar. Everybody liked spying 
and cryptography, but few people were 
interested in camouflage, chemical 
warfare, or the influence of the Cru- 
sades on military architecture in thir- 
teenth century Europe. In junior high I 
lived the "hit parade" life, going to dance 
parties where I acted like a cross be- 

tween Efvis and Archie. But I changed 
completely in high school, and the dis- 
cussion groups of the Ethical Culture 
Society became the social and intellec- 
lual foundation of my Hie. I became a 
peacenik, marched for nuclear disar- 
mament, sang folk songs in Washing- 
ton Square Park. Wild parties became 
places where you sat around discussing 
the meaning of life. At IvlIT 1 regarded 
myself as a pure malhematician, par- 
ticularly interested in analysis. Curi- 
ously, the things I did best are not 
particularly useful in cryptography 
Omni: Were you into sex. drugs, and 
rock and roll? 

Diffie: I would not wish to speak ill of 
any of those things. 

Omni: I presume you partook of the 
Sixties revolution. 

Diffie: Oh yeah, I'm a Sixties man all the 
way down, 

Omn/.-What did you do after college? 
Diffie: To dodge the draft in 1965, I took 
a job at the Iviitre Corporation, which 
worked on command and control sys- 
tems for the military, I worked as a 
computer programmer on Mathlab, an 
interactive tool for symbolic mathemat- 
ics that eventually became the Mac- 
syma system. Software is the greatest 
development in manufacturing technol- 
ogy in our lifetime, maybe in the millen- 
nium. I became senously interested in 
proving software correctness. 
Omni: When does cryptography come 
back into the picture? 
Diffie: Security was a large part of the 
Mullics time-sharing computer system 
going on at lyllT, and I began thinking 
more and more about personal privacy. 
[Vlultics had elaborate file protection 
systems, but all required trusting the 
programmers. Whatever password I 
had on them, system programmers 
could always get al my files, and 
somebody could always get at the sys- 
tem programmers, who wouldn't be in- 
terested in going to jail to protect my 
files. We're verging from a free society 
into tyranny when the government can 
go behind my back and subpoena files 
from system programmers, which is 
what they do now in bank investiga- 
tions. I saw that the only way to control 
my files would be to encrypt them. 
Omni: Did you go to Stanford to study 

Diffie: No, I went to work with John Mc- 
Carthy at the Al lab on the proof of cor- 
rectness of programs. He was the only 
other person I knew at the time who un- 
derstood how important the problem 
was. Proof of correctness aspires to 
mathematically prove that the pro- 
grams you write will always do what 
you want them to do. Many programs 
work on an effectively infinite number of 

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But in 1972 I got sidetracked when 
Larry Roberts, head of information pro- 
cessing at ARPA — the Advanced Re- 
search Projects Agency of the 
Pentagon — approached the NSA for 
help with ARPAnet's security. But as the 
boss of a mere $100-million-a-year mili- 
tary research project, poor Larry wasn't 
entitled to NSA's help. They told him to 
go stuff it. So Roberts asked McCarthy 
to think about network security, Mc- 
Carthy did cook up a cryptographic 
program. All time-sharing systems 
since the Sixties had commands that 
said "encrypt file," but nobody used 
them because they were so cumber- 
some and slow. I thought a serious 
cryptographic program should be able 
to encrypt a file as fast as you cculd 
copy it, and McCarthy's program came 
nowhere close to that. 
Omni: So really the NSA got you work- 
ing on cryptography? 
Diffie: Yes, I was officially working for 
ARPA, but only because they were 
using NSA's money and doing them a 
favor. Proof of correctness of programs 
has since grown into a big security-re- 
lated industry. By spring 1973, I was 
working on nothing else but cryptogra- 
phy This did not please McCarthy, who 

wa ed me back on proof of correct- 
ness. But I was old enough then not to 
worry about the draft so I took an indef- 
inite leave of absence. 

On one of many cross-country trips, 
I stppped at the IBM lab in Yorktown 
Heights [New York] to visit Alan Tritter, 
one of the first generation of telephone 
hackers. Tritter called himself "the 
biggest man In computer science" — 
he weighed 400 pounds. He intro- 
duced me to Alan Konheim, who di- 
rected IBM's cryptographic research 
group— probably the only significant 
American research group then in cryp- 
tography outside the NSA, Konheim 
was very secretive. He only told me 
one thing, and probably wishes he'd 
never said that. "When you get back to 
Stanford, look up my friend Marty Hell- 
man," he said. 

When I returned to California in 
1974, I called Hellman. We immedi- 
ately found each other the best-in- 
formed people we'd ever encountered. 
Marty and I worked together for four 
years and became a great pain in Kon- 
heim's tush. Our first political fight 
started in 1975, when the government 
adopted as the data encryption stan- 
dard [DES] a system developed by 
IBM. We thought its key was loo small. 
I made my living for several years ar- 

guing against DES, and now I'm mak- 
ing a living arguing against a new gov- 
ernment slandard, the Escrowed 
Encryption Standard. 

The government is trying to push on 
everybody a new cryptographic stan- 
dard. It's secret and wili be availabie 
only in tarn per- resistant hardware — the 
Clipper chip. The government wiii con- 
trol the products you buy. Worse yet, 
these products will contain a trapdoor 
allowing the government to read the 
traffic when it feeis it needs to. 
Omni: Why is the Clipper chip so de- 
voutiy to be opposed? 
Diffie: If the oniy teiecommunicattons 
products available aliow the govern- 
ment to spy on your conversations, 
then there'ii be no privacy left for any- 
body except fat cats who can fly 
around to visit one another in person. 
This tremendous centralization of the 
government's power will create a basic 
vulnerability in Amehcan communica- 
tions. Power so centralized in an entity 
can be captured, whether by foreign 
invader or coup d'etat. By creating a 

a pair of government agencies. 
Omni: How will the fight end"^ 
Diffie: It's hard to believe the govern- 
ment will get what it wants, but that 
doesn't mean freedom won't suffer in 
the process. They are swimming up- 
stream against the flow of technology 
People dedicated to protecting their 
communications will get better systems 
as time goes on, but that doesn't mean 
honest citizens will have that freedom. 
The administration has insisted it will 
not make private use of cryptographic 
systems illegal, but FBI director Louis 
Freeh recently admitted at a meeting in 
Washington that if unescrowed encryp- 
tion got in the way of wiretaps, he'd 
push for a law against it. Freeh keeps 
telling Congress electronic surveillance 
is necessary for law enforcement, even 
though there were fewer than 1,000 
court-ordered wiretaps last year, out of 
nearly 250,000 federal cases. NSA's 
former chief lawyer likes to cite the 
case of a pedophile in Sacramento 
who encrypted his computer files. I 
think the pedophile has already been 

Tremendous centralization 
of the government's power creates a vul- 
nerability in communications. 
Power so centralized can be captured. 

system that can be turned against the 
American people, we are making the 
country vulnerable in a way that could 
become very important in the future. 
Omn/.- Why's the government pushing it? 
Diffie: I imagine there's a hidden intelli- 
gence agenda here. The government 
is obviously terrified about the prolifera- 
tion of products over which it has no 
control. Widespread deployment of 
cryptographic systems too difficult for 
NSA to routinely break might degrade 
their performance and result in their 
budget being cut. 

Omni: Didn't Vice President Gore an- 
nounce that the government was back- 
ing down on the Clipper chip? It will go 
into our telephones, but not into our 

Diffie: 1 don't think he backed down on 
anything. His statement was merely 
misleading. The Clipper chip has always 
been intended for telephones, and we 
have no idea what he's cooking up for 
computers. He merely reiterated the 
demand for a key escrow system. This 
is a mechanism tiuilt into cryptographic 
systems allowing the government to 
read the traffic. The keys for bypassing 
the encryption will be held in escrow at 
92 OMNI 

convicted, but they want to get hold of 
his files and put him away for another 
ten years. The notion of pedophiles 
"seducing" people over the Internet 
hardly seems a major threat to society 

Banning cryptography is not like gun 
control. We don't have drive-by shoot- 
ings on the Internet. This approach to 
crime control is a lot of nonsense. They 
say they want to prevent a security- 
minded criminal from going down to 
Radio Shack and buying off-the-shelf 
communications equipment that will 
defeat law enforcement, This means 
government-approved equipment has 
to be the only product available. 
Omni: Will I be able to go to Radio 
Shack and buy a crypto machine no- 
body can crack? 

Diffie: I'm inclined to think so. In the 
1790s, when the Bill of Rights was rati- 
fied, any two people could have a pri- 
vate conversation — with a certainty no 
one in the world enjoys today — by walk- 
ing a few meters down the road and 
Jooking to see no one was hiding in the 
bushes. There were no recording de- 
vices, parabolic microphones, or laser 
interferometers bouncing off their eye- 
glasses. You will note civilization survived. 

Many of us regard that period as a 
golden age in American political culture, 
Omni: How secure is the government's 
proposed escrow system? 
Diffie: Building trapdoors into security 
equipment inherently reduces Its secu- 
rity For intelligence reasons, the gov- 
ernment is demanding the system only 
use 80-bit keys. This tells you the 
upper bound on the amount of work 
needed to cryptanalyze messages: 
2'^aO objects. This is a million million 
million million computations. It would 
have to be an incredibly interesting 
phone call for anybody to do 2^80 
computations to read it. On the other 
hand, given the way the system is or- 
ganized, it takes only a few times that 
much work to read ail the traffic ever 
passed through an individual tele- 
phone, in 2005 or 2010, when there's 
much more computing power or new 
cryptanalytic techniques, somebody 
who's been recording this traffic might 
read it with relative ease And make no 
mistake about it, people are recording 
lots of traffic right now. 
Omni: Now that I can get cryptographic 
programs on the Internet, hasn't the 
public outsmarted the spies? 
Diffie: In no way has the battle for the 
availability of cryptography been won. 
Since the end of World War II. people 
have been saying the end of the spy- 
masters was nigh. But if you drive 
through Cheltenham or Fort Meade, 
you notice a lot of money being spent 
on fancy new buildings. Communica- 
tions intelligence is still eating high on 
the hog, because the rate traffic mi- 
grates Into potentially vulnerable 
telecommunication channels exceeds 
the rate traffic can be protected. The 
Internet itself doubles in size every 14 

Will more of this traffic be encrypted 
in the future? Undoubtedly Will cryp- 
tosystems become and stay popular 
for years, even though they have flaws 
or trapdoors somebody knows how to 
exploit? Very possibly 
Omni: So, then, the only way to break 
secret codes is for a lot of people to at- 
tack them? 

Diffie: Not necessarily a lot of people, 
just the right people, 
Omni: This seems to argue for making 
cryptographic algorithms public. 
Diffie: it certainly does. If you publish 
your algorithm you're more likely to 
hear if somebody breaks it. Thinking 
you can keep cryptographic algorithms 
secret from your major opponents is 
folly It takes strong opponents to break 
a good algorithm, but the strongest — 
best funded — also have the capacity to 
acquire the algorithm against any rea- 
sonable commercial attempt to keep it 

secret. The reason to keep crypto sys- 
tems secret is most people working in 
this business are spies, tine NSA is tfie 
supplier of algorithms for the U.S. com- 
munications security but something be- 
tween three-quarters and 90% of their 
budget goes to spying, so they have a 
vested interest in l^eeping crypto- 
graphic equipment out of their oppo- 
nents' hands, 
Omni: Are you a spy? 
Diffie: i don't work for anybody but Sun 
Microsyslems, and I don't snoop for 
anyone but myseif, 
Omni: Do you get offers? 
DiHie: Oniy from NSA, if tfiat counts, 
and never good enough. 
Omni: The field of cryptograpliy histori- 
cally has lent itself to amateurs. 
Diffie: We amateurs like to think so, 
Tfiomas Jefferson invented a crypto- 
graphic system rediscovered among 
his papers in 1922 and was later adopted 
by the Navy If he'd used his own sys- 
tem when he was Secretary of State in- 
stead of one infinitely easier to solve, 
U.S. traffic might have been secure into 
the twentieth century Instead, it was 
porous well into the Forties. 
Omni: In 1980 you predicted all com- 
puters and telephones would be en- 
crypted by now. 

Diffie: I was vastly wrong about the de- 
gree to which people would be con- 
cerned with the problem. But the vast 
majority of the world's communications 
is still uncrypted. Interception costs are 
dropping, meaning the need to protect 
telecommunication channels is rising, 
and at some point this situation will 
spark a vast range of products. But so 
far people still don't see the damage 
being done to them by insecure com- 
munications, so they keep postponing 
the decision to do something about it. 
Omni: How can you tell when eaves- 
dropping is happening? 
Diffie: It's hard for anyone other than an 
intelligence organization to know it's 
being spied on. You may see ■"manifes- 
tations." Five times in one year you lose 
contracts by narrow margins to the 
same competitor who seems to know in 
advance what your bids are going to 
be, But it's expensive and difficult to 
figure out if this is due to a communioa- 
tions security failure. Duhng the Cold 
War, spies changed sides relatively in- 
frequently, but in industry, people 
change sides every day. Many people 
in Silicon Valley constantly move. So 
security problems in industry may be 
more difficult than in the military The 
military knows people are spending 
lots of money attacking its communica- 
tions, whereas industry is usually in the 
dark about it, 
Omni: What types of problems are 

you working on now? 
Diffie: Certification of cryptographic 
systems is the core problem. The diffi- 
culty of finding hidden functions in 
computer programs is unboundedly 
high. How can you certify there aren't 
trapdoors in systems, particularly if 
manufacturers are working with trade- 
secret designs? I don't know how ordi- 
nary people can be supplied with 
something they trust, because the re- 
ward for undermining widely-used sys- 
tems is very high 

Intelligence agencies are not in 
business to play fair. They don't want to 
break traffic that they can arrange to 
get some easier way. So they're build- 
ing visible trapdoors into things through 
the key escrow program. There's no 
reason to believe they aren't also build- 
ing trapdoors into things that are hid- 
den. For instance, I've been told the 
diagnostic computers in cars now 
record information about your driving 
style that potentially affects your war- 
ranty. If your mechanic can determine 
the highest speed you achieved in the 
last several thousand miles, then your 
car is spying on you. 
Omni: Sun Microsystems's largest cus- 
tomer is the U.S. government. Has any- 
one in the company suggested you 
tone down your criticism? 

Diffie: I see no sign the government re- 
gards my activities as objectionable or 
that my activities hinder it in any way. 
Having people testify before Congress 
and carry on public debate creates the 
illusion of democracy Why should they 
object to that? I give apparent legiti- 
macy to these behind-the-scenes 
processes, I don't seem to have any 
real effect on what happens. 
Omni: In his story "The Gold Bug," 
Edgar Allan Poe says there is no such 
thing as a cipher that can't be broken. 
Do you agree? 

Diffie: That's a tricky question. New- 
comers to the problem are inclined to 
say it's easy to make an unbreakable 
system. If you start designing a secure 
communications product today by the 
time 11 goes into service in 2000, your 
system is good for 20 or 30 years. But 
on the last day it's in use, somebody 
encrypts a sensitive message so im- 
portant it's still interesting to an oppo- 
nent 50 years later. This means you're 
designing today against an opponent 
who sits down to attack you a century 
from now. He holds in his pocket calcu- 
lator more computing power than we 
now have in the entire world, and he 
knows a bunch of mathematics as yet 
undreamed of. Do you see why it's a 
hard problem?Da 





I was walking the telephone wires upside-down, the sky underfoot cold 
and flat with a few hard bright stars sparsely scattered about it, when I 
thought how it would take only an instant's weakness to step off to the side 
and fall up forever into the night. A kind of wildness entered me then and 
I began to run. 

I made the wires sing. They leapt and hulked above me as I raced past 
Ricky's Luncheonette and up the hill. Past the old chocolate factory and the 
IDI Advertising Display plant. Past the body shops, past A. J. LaCourse 

Electric Motors-Controls-Parts, Then, 
where the slope steepened, along the 
curving snake of rowhouses that went 
the full quarter mile up to the Ridge. 
Twice I overtook pedestrians, hunched 
and bundled, heads doggedly down, 
out on incomprehensible errands. They 
didn't notice me, of course. They never 
do. The antenna farm was visible from 
here. I could see the Seven Sisters 
spangled with red lights, dependent on 
the earth like stalactites. "Where are 
you running to, little one?" one tower 
whispered in a crackling, siaticky 
voice. I think it was Hegemone. 

"Fuck off," I said without slackening 
my pace, and they all chuckled. 

Cars mumbled by. This was ravine 
country, however built up, and the far 
side of the road, too steep and rocky for 
development, was given over to trees 
and garbage. Hamburger wrappings 
and white plastic trash bags rustled in 
their wake.. I was running full-out now, 

About a block or so from the Ridge, 
1 stumbled and almost fell. I slapped an 
arm across a telephone pole and just 
managed to catch myself m time. Aghast 
at my own carelessness, I hung there, 
dizzy and alarmed. The ground overhead 
was black as black, an iron roof, yet 
somehow was as anxious as a hound to 
leap upon me, crush me flat, smear me 
to nottiingness. I stared up at it, horrified. 

Somebody screamed my name. 

I turned. A faint blue figure clung to a 
television antenna atop a small, stuccoed 

In a panic, I scrambled up and ran 
toward the Ridge and safely. I had a 
squat in the old Roxy, and once I was 
through the wall, the Corpsegrinder 
would not follow. Why this should be 
so, 1 did not know, But you learn the rules 
if you want to survive. 

I ran. In the back of my head I could 
hear the Seven Sisters clucking and 
gossiping to each other, radiating tele- 
vision and radio over a few dozen fre- 
quencies. Indifferent to my plight. 

The Corpsegrinder churned up the 
wires on a hundred needle-sharp legs. 
I could feel the ion surge it kicked up 
pushing against me as I reached the 
intersection of Ridge and Leverlngton, 
Cars were pulling up to the pumps at 
the Atlantic station. Teenagers stood in 
front of the A-Plus Mini Ivlarket, flicking 
half-smoked cigarettes into the street, 
stamping their feet like colts, and wait- 
ing for something to happen. I couldn't 
help feeling a great longing disdain for 
them. Every last one worried about 
grades and drugs and zits, and all the 
while snugly barricaded within hulking 
fortresses of flesh. 

I was scant yards from home. The 
Roxy was a big old movie palace, fallen 
into disrepair and semiconverted to a 
skateboarding rink which had gone out 
of business almost immediately. But it 
had been a wonderful place once, and 
the terra-colta trim was still there: rib- 
bons and river-gods, great puffing 
faces with panpipes, guitars, flowers. 

I grabbed at a rusty flange on the 
side of the Roxy. 

Too late! Pain exploded within me, a 
sheet of white nausea. All in an instant i 
lost the name of my second daughter, 
an April morning when the world was 
new and I was five, a smoky string of 
ali-nighters in Rensselaer Polytech, the 
jowly grin of Old Whatsisiace the Ger- 
man who lived on LaFountain Street, 
the fresh pain of a sprained ankle out 
back of a Banana Republic warehouse, 
fishing off a yellow rubber raft with my 
old man on Lake Champlain, All gone, 
these and a thousand things more, 
sucked away, crushed to nothing, be- 
yond retrieval. 

Furious as any wounded animal, I 
fought back. Foul bits of substance 
splattered under my fist, The Corpse- 
grinder reared up to smash me down, 
and I scrabbled desperately away. 
Something tore and gave. 

Then I was through the wall and 
safe and among the bats and gloom. 

"Cobbr the Corpsegrinder shouted. 
It lashed wildly back and forth, scour- 
ing the brick walls with limbs and teeth, 
as restless as a March wind, as unpre- 
dictable as ball lightning. 

For the moment I was safe. But it 
had seized a part of me, tortured it, and 
made it a part of itself. I could no longer 
delude myself into thinking it was sim- 
ply going to go away. "Cahawahawbb!" 
It broke my name down to a chord of 
overlapping tones. It had an ugly, 

brick duplex. Charlie's Widow. She 
pointed an arm that flickered with silver 
fire down Ripka Street. I slewed about 
to see what was coming after me. 

!t was the Corpsegrinder. 

When it saw that I'd spotted it, it put 
out several more legs, extended a 
quilled head, and raised a howl that 
bounced off the Heaviside layer. My 
nonexistent blood chilled. 

96 OMNI 

wyverns. I crossed the Ridge on a 
dead telephone wire, spider-web deli- 
cate but still usable. 

Almost there. 

Then the creature was upon me, 
with a howl of electromagnetic rage that 
silenced even the Sisters for an instant. 
It slammed into my side, a storm of ra- 
zors and diamond-edged fury, hooks 
and claws extended. 

muddy voice. I felt dirtied just listening 

to it, "Caw — " A pause, "^awbbl" 

In a horrified daze I stumbled up the 
Roxy's curving patterned-tin roof until 1 
found a section free of bats. Exhausted 
and dispirited, I slumped down. 
"Caw aw aw awb buh buh!" 
How had the thing found me? I'd 
thought I'd left it behind in iVlanhattan, 
Had my flight across the high-tension 

lines left a trail of some kind? Maybe. 
Tfien again, it might have some special 
connection with me. To follow me here 
it must have passed by easier prey. 
Which implied it had a grudge against 
me. Maybe I'd known the Corpse- 
grinder bacl< when it was human. We 
could once have been important to 
each other. We might have been 
lovers. It was possible. The world is a 
stranger place than 1 used to believe. 

The horror ol my existence overlook 
me then, an acute awareness of the 
squalor in which 1 dwelt, the danger 
which surrounded me, and the dark 
mystery informing my universe, i wept 
for all that I had lost. 

Eventually, the sun rose up like 
God's own Peterbilt and with a tri- 
umphant blare of chromed trumpets, 
gently sent all of us creatures of the 
nigfit to sleep. 

When you die, the first thing that hap- 
pens is that the world turns upside- 
down. You feel an overwhelmmg 
disorientation and a strange sensation 
that's not quite pain as the last strands 
connecting you to your body part, and 
then you slip out of physical being and 
fall from the planet 

As you fall, you attenuate. Your sub- 
stance expands and thins, glowing 
more and more faintly as you pick up 
speed. So far as can be told, it's a 
process that doesn't ever stop Fainter, 
thinner, colder . . . until you've merged 
into the substance of everyone else 
who's ever died, spread perfectly uni- 
formly through the universal vacuum 
forever moving toward but never arriv- 
ing at absolute zero. Look hard, and 
the sky is full of the Dead. 

Not everyone falls away Some few 
are fast-thinking or lucky enough to 
maintain a tenuous hold on earthly ex- 
istence, I was one of the lucky ones. I 
was working late one night on a pro- 
posal when 1 had my heart attack. The 
office was empty. The ceiling had a 
wire mesh within the plaster and that's 
what saved me. 

The first response to death is denial. 
This can't be happening, I thought, I 
gaped up at the floor where my body 
had fallen and would lie undiscovered 
until morning. My own corpse, pale 
and bloodless, wearing a corporate tie 
and sleeveless gray Angora sweater. 
Gold Rolex, Sharper Image desk ac- 
cessohes, and of course I also thought: 
/ diQd for this? By which of course I 
meant my entire life. 

So it was in a state of personal and 
ontological crisis thai I wandered 
across the ceiling to the location of an 
old pneumatic message tube, removed 
and plastered over some 50 years be- 

fore. I fell from the seventeenth to the 
twenty-fifth floor, and I learned a lot in 
the process. Shaken, startled, and al- 
ready beginning to assume the wari- 
ness that the afterlife requires, I went to 
a window to get a glimpse of the outer 
world. When I tried to touch the glass, 
my hand went hght through. I jerked 
back. Cautiously I leaned forward so 
that my head stuck out into the night. 

What a wonderful experience Times 
Square is when you're dead! There is 
ten times the light a living being sees. 
All metal things vibrate with inner life. 
Electric wires are thin scratches in the 
air. Neon sings. The world is filled with 
strange sights and cries. Everything 
shifts from beauty to beauty. 

Something that looked tike a cross 
between a dragon and a wisp of 
smoke was feeding in the Square. But 
it was lost among so many wonders 
that I gave it no particular thought. 

Night again. I awoke with Led Zeppelin 
playing in the back of my head. Stair- 
way to IHeaven. Again. It can be a long 

briefest Instant then cartwheeling glee- 
fully into oblivion. In the instant of 
restoration following the bolt, the walls 
were transparent and all the world 
made of glass, its secrets available to 
be snooped out. But before compre- 
hension was possible, the walls 
opaqued again and the lightning's 
malevolent aftermath faded like a mad- 
man's smile in the night. 

Through it all the Seven Sisters were 
laughing and singing, screaming with 
joy whenever a lightning belt flashed, 
and making up nonsense poems from 
howls, whistles, and static. During a 
momentary lull, the fiat hum of a carrier 
wave filled my head. Phaenna, by the 
feel of her. But instead of her voice, I 
heard only the sound of fearful sobs. 
"Widow?" I said. "Is that you?" 
"She can't hear ycu," Phaenna 
purred. "You're lucky I'm here to bnng 
you up to speed. A lightning bolt hit the 
transformer outside her house. It was 
bound to happen sooner or later Your 
Nemesis — the one you call the 
Corpsegrinder, such a cute nickname. 

When it saw that I'd spotted it, it put out 

several more legs, extended 

a quilled head, and raised a howl. My 

nonexistent blood chilled. 

wait between Dead Milkmen cuts. 

"Wakey-risey. little man," crooned 
one of the Sisters, It was funny how 
sometimes they took a close personal 
interest in our doings, and other times 
ignored us completely. "This is Eu- 
phrosyne with the red-eye weather re- 
port. The outlook is moody with a 
chance of existential despair. You won't 
be going outside tonight if you know 
what's good for you. There'll be light- 
ning within the hour." 

"It's too late in the year for lightning," 
I said. 

"Oh dear. Should I inform the 

By now 1 was beginning to realize 
that what I had taken on awakening to 
be the Corpsegrlnder's dark aura was 
actually the high-pressure front of an 
approaching storm. The first drops of 
ram pattered on the roof. Wind skirled 
and the rain grew stronger. Thunder 
growled in the distance. "Why don't 
you just go fuck your — " 

A light laugh that trilled up into the 
supersonic, and she was gone, 

I was listening to the rain underfoot 
when a lightning bolt screamed into ex- 
istence, turning me inside-out for the 

by the way — has her trapped." 

This was making no sense at all, "Why 

would the Corpseghnder be after her?" 
"Why why why why?" Phaenna sang, 

a snatch of some pop ballad or other. 

"You didn't get answers when you were 
alive, what makes you think you'd get 
any no^" The sobbing went on and 
on. "She can sit it out," I said, "The 
Corpsegrinder can't — hey, wait. Didn't 
they just wire her house for cable? I'm 
trying to picture it. Phone lines on one 
side, electric on the other, cable. She 
can slip out on his blind side." 

The sobs lessened and then rose in 
a most un-Widowlike wail of despair 

"Typical," Phaenna said. "You 
haven't the slightest notion of what 
you're talking about. The lightning 
stroke has altered your little pet. Go out 
and see for yourself," My hackles rose. 
"You know damned good and well that 
I can't — " 

Phaenna's attention shifted and the 
carrier beam died. The Seven Sisters 
are fickle that way. This lime, though, it 
was just as well. No way was I going out 
there to face that monstrosity, I 
couldn't. And I was grateful not to have 

to admit it, 

For a fong while I sal thinking about 
the Corpsegrinder, Even here, pro- 
tected by the strong waiis of the Roxy, 
the mere thought of it was paralyzing. I 
tried to imagine what Chariie's Widow 
was going through, separated Irom this 
monster by oniy a thin curtain of brick 
and stucco, Feeiing the hard radiation 
of its maiice and need ... II was be- 
yond my powers of visualization. Even- 
tually I gave up and thought instead 
about my first meeting with the Widow. 

She was coming down the hill from 
Roxborough with her arms out, the in- 
verted image of a child playing a tight- 
rope wali^er. Placing one foot ahead of 
the other with deliberate concentration, 
scanning the wire before her so cau- 
tiously that she was less than a block 
away when she saw me. 

She screamed. 

Then she was running straight at 
me. My bacl< was to the transformer 
station — there was no place to flee. I 
shrank away as she stumbled to a halt. 

"It's you!" she cried. "Oh God, Char- 

woman would have been a sigh. "You'd 
think that I — well, never mind." She of- 
fered her hand, and when 1 would not 
take it, said, "This way," 

I followed her down iVlain Street, 
through the shallow canyon of the busi- 
ness district to a diner at the edge of 
town. II was across from Hubcap 
Heaven and an automotive junkyard 
bordered it on two sides. The diner was 
closed. We settled down on the ceiling, 

"That's where the car ended up after 
I died," she said, gesturing toward the 
junkyard. "It was right after I got the 
call about Charlie. I stayed up drinking 
and after a while it occurred to me that 
maybe they were wrong, they'd made 
some sort of horrible mistake and he 
wasn't really dead, you know? 

Like maybe he was In a coma or 
something, some horrible kind of misdi- 
agnosis, they'd gotten him confused 
with somebody else, who knows? Terri- 
ble things happen in hospitals. They 
make mistakes, 

"\ decided I had to go and straighten 
things out. There wasn't time to make 

I was fresh off the high-tension lines, still 

vibrating with energy and fear. 

I could remember almost nothing of my 

post-death existence. 

lie, I knew you'd come back for me, I 
waited so long but I never doubted 
you, never, we can — " She lunged for- 
ward as if to hug me. Our eyes met. 

All the joy in her died. 

"Oh," she said. "It's not you." 

I was fresh off the high-tension lines, 
still vibrating with energy and fear Ivly 
mind was a blaze of contradictions, I 
could remember almost nothing of my 
post-death existence. Fragments, bits 
of advice from the old dead, a horrify- 
ing confrontation with . . , something, 
some creature or phenomenon that 
tiad driven me to flee Ivlanhattan. 
Whether it was this event or the tear- 
some voltage of that radiant highway 
that had scoured me of expehence, I 
did not know, "It's me," I protested, 

"No, it's not," Her gaze was unflat- 
tenngly frank "You're not Charlie and 
you never were. You're — just the sad 
remnant of what once was a man, and 
not a very good one at that," She 
turned away. She was leaving me! In 
my confusion, I felt such a despair as I 
had never known before, 

"Please ..." I said. 

She stopped. 

A long silence. Then what in a living 

coffee so I went to the medicine cabi- 
net and gulped down a bunch of pills 
at random, figuring something among 
them would keep me awake. Then I 
jumped into the car and started off for 
Colorado, " 

"ivly God." 

"I have no idea how fast I was 
going— everything was a blur when I 
crashed. At least I didn't take anybody 
with me, thank the Lord. There was this 
one horrible moment of confusion and 
pain and rage and then 1 found myself 
lying on the floor of the car with my 
corpse just inches beneath me on the 
underside of the roof." She was silent 
for a moment. 'My first impulse was to 
crawl out the window. Lucky for me I 
didn't." Another pause, "It took me 
most of a night to work my way out of 
the yard. I had to go from wreck to 
wreck. There were these gaps to jump. 
It was a nightmare," 

"I'm amazed you had the presence 
of mind to stay tn the car." 

"Dying sobers you up fast." 

I laughed. 1 couldn't help it. And 
without the slightest hesitation, she 
joined right in with me. It was a fine 
warm moment, the first I'd had since I 

didn't know when. The two of us set 
each other off, laughing louder and 
louder, our merriment heterodyning 
until it filled every television screen for 
a mile around with snow. 

My defenses were down. She 
reached out and took my hand. 

Memory flooded me, it was her first 
date with Charlie, He was an electri- 
cian. Her next-door neighbor was hav- 
ing the place rehabbed. She'd been 
working in the back yard and he struck 
up a conversation. Then he asked her 
out. They went to a disco in the Adam's 
Mark over on City Line Avenue. 

She wasn't eager to get involved 
with somebody iust then. She was still 
recovering from a hellish affair with a 
married man who'd thought that since 
he wasn't available for anything perma- 
nent, that made her his property. But 
when Charlie suggested they go out to 
the car for some coke — it was the Sev- 
enties — she'd said sure. He was going 
to put the moves on her sooner or later. 
Might as well get it settled early so 
they'd have more time for dancing. 

But after they'd done up the lines, 
Charlie had shocked her by taking her 
hands in his and kissing them. She 
worked for a Bucks County pottery in 
those days and her hands were rough 
and red. She was very sensitive about 

"Beautiful hands," he murmured. 
"Such beautiful, beautiful hands," 

"You're making fun of me," she 
protested, hurt. 

"No! These are hands that do 
things, and they've been shaped by 
the things they've done. The way 
stones in a stream are shaped by the 
water that passes over Ihem. The way 
tools are shaped by their work. A ham- 
mer is beautiful, if it's a good hammer, 
and your hands are, too." 

He could have been scamming her. 
But something in his voice, his manner, 
said no, he really meant it. She squeezed 
his hands and saw that they were 
beautiful, too. Suddenly she was glad 
she hadn't gone off the pill when she 
broke up with Daniel. She started to 
cry. Her date looked alarmed and baf- 
fled. But she couldn't stop. All the tears 
she hadn't cried in the past two years 
came pouring out of her, unstoppable. 

Charlie-boy, she thought, you just 
got lucky 

All this in an instant. I snatched my 
hands away, breaking contact, "Don't 
do that!" I cried, "Don't you ei/er touch 
me again [" 

With flat disdain, the Widow said, "It 
wasn't pleasant for me either. But I 
had to see how much of your life you 

It was naive of me, but I was shocked 

to realize that the passage of memories 
had gone both ways. But before I 
could voice my outrage, she said, 
"There's not much left of you. You're 
only a fragment of a man, shreds and 
tatters, hardly anything. No wonder 
you're so friglitened. You've got what 
Charlie calls a low signal-to-noise ratio. 
What happened in New Yorl< City al- 
most destroyed you." 

"That doesn't give you the right to — " 

"Oh be still. You need to know this. 
Living is simple, you just keep going. 
But death is complex. It's so hard to 
hang on and so easy to let go. The 
temptation is always there. Believe me, 
I know. There used to be five of us in 
Roxborough, and where are the others 
noW Two came through Manayunk last 
spring and camped out under the El for 
a season and they're gone, too. Hold- 
ing it together is hard work. One day 
the stars start singing to you, and the 
next you begin to listen to them. A 
week later they start to make sense. 
You're just reacting to events — that's 
not good enough. If you mean to hold 
on, you've got to know why you're 
doing it." 

"So why are you?" 

"I'm waiting for Charlie," she said 

It occurred to me to wonder exactly 
how many years she had been waiting. 
Three? Fifteen? Just how long was it 
possible to hold on? Even in my con- 
fused and emotional state, though, I 
knew better than to ask. Deep inside 
she must've known as well as I did that 
Charlie wasn't coming. "My name's 
Cobb," I said. "What's yours?" 

She hesitated and then, with an odd 
sidelong look, said, "I'm Charlie's 
widow. That's all that matters." It was all 
the name she ever gave, and Charlie's 
Widow she was to me from then onward. 

I rolled onto my back on the tin ceiling 
and spread out my arms and legs, a 
phantom starfish among the bats. A 
fragment, she had called me, shreds 
and tatters. No wonder you're so fright- 
ened! In all the months since I'd been 
washed into this backwater of the 
power grid, she'd never treated me 
with anything but a condescension 
bordenng on contempt. 

So I went out into the storm after all. 

The ratn was nothing. It passed 
right through me. But there were ion- 
heavy gusts of wind that threatened to 
knock me off the lines, and the trans- 
former outside the Widow's house was 
burning a fierce actinic blue It was a 
gusher of energy a tiare star brought to 
earth, dazzling. A bolt of lightning un- 
zipped me, turned me inside out, and re- 
stored me before I had a chance to react. 

The Corpsegrinder was visible from 
the Roxy, but between the burning 
transformer and the creature's meta- 
morphosis, I was within a block of the 
monster before I understood exactly 
what it was I was seeing. 

It was feeding off the dying trans- 
former, sucking in energy so greedily 
that it pulsed like a mosquito engorged 
with blood. Enormous plasma wings 
warped to either side, hot blue and 
transparent. They curved entirely 
around the Widow's house in an unbro- 
ken and circular wall. At the resonance 
points they extruded less detailed ver- 
sions of the Corpsegrinder itself, like 
sentinels, all facing the Widow. 

Surrounding her with a phckly ring 
of electricity and malice. 

I retreated a block, though the trans- 
former fire apparently hid me from the 
Corpsegrinder, tor it stayed where it was, 
eyelessly staring inward. Three times I 
circled the house from a distance, look- 
ing for a way in. An unguarded cable, 
a wrought-iron fence, any unbroken 
stretch of metal too high or too low for 
the Corpsegrinder to reach. 


Finally, because there was no alter- 
native, I entered the house across the 
street from the Widow's, the one that 
was best shielded from the spouting 

and stuttering transformer. A power line 
took me into the attic crawlspace. From 
there I scaled the electrical system down 
through the second and first floors and 
so to the basement. I had a brief 
glimpse of a man asleep on a couch 
before the television. The set was off 
but it still held a residual charge. It sat 
quiescent, smug, bloated with stolen 
energies. If the poor bastard on the 
couch could have seen what I saw, 
he'd've never turned on the TV again. 
In the basement I hand-over-handed 
myself from the washing machine to 
the main water inlet. Straddling the 
pipe, I summoned all my courage and 
plunged my head underground. 

It was black as pitch. I inched forward 
on the pipe in a kind of panic. I could 
see nothing, hear nothing, smell noth- 
ing, taste nothing. All I could feel was 
the iron pipe beneath my hands. Just 
beyond the wall the pipe ended in a T- 
joint where it hooked into a branch line 
under the drive. I followed it to the street. 

It was awful: like suffocation infinitely 
prolonged. Like being wrapped in 
black cloth. Like being drowned in ink. 
Like strangling noiselessly in the void 
between the stars To distract myself, I 
thought about my old man. 

When my father was young, he navi- 
gated between cities by radio. Driving 

AoMEfllVlES It's I #j) 

I HARD TO BE A 7 /jt H 

dark and usually empty highways, he'd 
twisi the dial back and forth, back and 
forth, until he'd hit a station. Then he'd 
withdraw his hand and wait for the sta- 
tion iD. That would give htm his rough 
location — that he was somewhere out- 
side of Albany, say. A sudden signal 
coming in strong and then abruptly dis- 
solving in groans and eerie whistles 
was a fluke of the ionosphere, impossi- 
bly distant and easily disregarded. One 
that faded in and immediately out 
meant he had grazed the edge of a 
station's range. But then a signal would 
grow and strengthen as he penetrated 
its field, crescendo, fade, and collapse 
into static and silence. That left him 
north of Troy, let's say, and making 
good time. He would begin the search 
for the next station. 

You could drive across the continent 
in this way, passed from hand to hand 
by local radio, and tuned in to the ge- 
ography of the night. 

I went over that memory three times, 
polishing and refining it, before the 
branch line abruptly ended. One hand 

puffy man stood with his sleeves rolled 
up, elbow-deep in the sink, angrily 
washing dishes by candlelight. A 
woman who was surely his wife expres- 
sively smoked a cigarette at his stiff 
back, drawing in the smoke with bitter 
intensity and exhaling it in puffs of ha- 
tred. On the second floor a preadoles- 
cent girl clutched a tortoise-shell cat so 
tightly it struggled to escape, and cried 
into its fur. In the next room a younger 
boy sat on his bed in earphones, Walk- 
man on his lap, staring sightlessly out 
the window at the burning transformer. 
No Widow on either floor 

How, I wondered, could she have 
endured this entropic oven of a blue- 
collar rowhouse, forever the voyeur at 
the banquet, watching the living 
squander what she had already spent? 
Her trace was everywhere, her pres- 
ence elusive I was beginning to think 
she'd despaired and given herself up 
to the sky when I found her in the attic, 
clutching the wire that led to the an- 
tenna. She looked up, amazed by my 
unexpected appearance. 

It was feeding off the dying transformer, 

sucking in energy so greedily 

that it pulsed like an enormous mosquito 

engorged with blood. 

groped forward and closed upon nothing, 
I had reached the main conduit. For 
a panicked moment 1 had feared that it 
would be concrete or brick or even one 
of the cedar pipes the city laid down in 
the nineteenth century, remnants of 
which still linger here and there be- 
neath the pavement. But by sheer blind 
luck, the system had been installed 
during that narrow window of time 
when the pipes were cast iron. I 
crawled along its underside first one 
way and then the other, searching for 
the branch line for the Widow's. There 
was a lot of crap under the street. Sev- 
eral times I was blocked by gas lines 
or by the high-pressure pipes for the 
fire hydrants and had to awkwardly 
clamber around them. At last, I found 
the line and began the painful journey 
out from the street again. 

When I emerged in the Widow's 
basement, I was a nervous wreck. It 
came to me then thai I could no longer 
remember my father's name. A thing of 
rags and shreds indeed! I worked my 
way up the electrical system, search- 
ing every room and unintentionally spy- 
ing on the family who had bought the 
house after her death. In the kitchen a 
100 OMNI 

"Come on," I said. "I know a way out." 

the difficulty of navigating the twisting 
maze of pipes under the street, though 
that was bad enough, as the fact that 
the Widow wouldn't hazard the pas- 
sage unless I led her by the hand. 

"You don't know how difficult this is 
forme," I said, 

"It's the only way I'd dare." A ner- 
vous, humorless laugh. "I have such a 
lousy sense of direction." 

So, steeling myself, I seized her 
hand and plunged through the wall. 

It took all my concentration to keep 
from sliding off the water pipes, I was 
so distracted by the violence of her 
thoughts. We crawled through a hun- 
dred memories, all of her married lover 
all alike. Here's one: 

Daniel snapped on the car radio. 
Sad music — something classical — 
flooded the car. "That's bullshit, babe. 
You know how much I have invested in 
you?" He jabbed a blunt finger at her 
dress. "I could buy two good whores 
for what that thing cost." 

Then why don't you, she thought. 

Get back on your Metroliner and go 
home to New York City and your wife 
and your money and your two good 
whores. Aloud, reasonably, she said, 
"It's over, Danny, can't you see that?" 

"Look, babe. Let's not argue here, 
okay? Not in the parking lot, with peo- 
ple walking by and everybody listen- 
ing. Drive us to your place, we can sit 
down and talk it over like civilized hu- 
man beings." She clutched the wheel, 
staring straight ahead. "No. We're 
going to settle this here and now." 

"Christ." One-handed, Daniel wran- 
gled a pack of Kents from a jacket 
pocket and knocked out a cigarette. 
Took the end in his lips and drew it out. 
Punched the lighter "So talk." 

A wash of hopelessness swept over 
her Marhed men were supposed to be 
easy to get rid of. That was the whole 
point. "Let me go, Danny," she pleaded. 
Then, lying, "We can still be friends." 

He made a disgusted noise. 

"I've tried, Danny, I really have. You 
don't know how hard I've tried. But it's 
just not working." 

"All right, I've listened. Now let's go," 
Reaching over her, Daniel threw the 
gearshift into reverse. He stepped on 
her foot, mashing it into the accelerator. 

The car leaped backward. She 
shrieked and in a flurry of panic swung 
the wheel about and slammed on the 
brakes with her free foot. 

With a jolt and a crunch, the car 
stopped. There was the tinkle of broken 
plastic. They'd hit a lime-green Hyundai. 

"Oh, that's just perfecti" Daniel said. 
The lighter popped out. He lit his ciga- 
rette and then swung open the door. 
"I'll check the damage." Over her 
shoulder, she saw Daniel tug at his 
trousers knees as he crouched to ex- 
amine the Hyundai. She had a sudden 
impulse to slew the car around and es- 
cape. Step on the gas and never look 
back. Watch his face, dismayed and 
dwindling, in the rear-view mirror. 
Eyes flooded with tears, she began 
quietly to laugh. 

Then Daniel was back. "It's all right, 
let's go." 

"I heard something break." 

"II was just a tail-light, okay?" He 
gave her a funny look, "What the hell 
are you laughing about?" 

She shook her head helplessly, unable 
to sort out the tears from the laughter 
Then somehow they were on the Ex- 
pressway, the car humming down the 
indistinct and warping road. She was 
driving but Daniel was still in control, 

We were completely lost now and had 
been for some time. I had taken what I 
was certain had to be a branch line 
and it had led nowhere. We'd been 

tracing its twisty passage for blocks. I 
stopped and pulled my hand away. I 
couldn't concentrate. Not witli ttie 
caustics and poisons of the Widow's 
past churning through me. "Listen," I 
said. "We've got to get something 
straight between us," 

Her voice came out of nowhere, 
small and wary. "What?" 

How to say it? The horror of those 
memories lay not in their brutality but in 
their particularity. They nestled into 
empty spaces where memories of my 
own shouid have been. They were as 
famiiiar as old shoes. They fit. 

"If I could remember any of this 
crap." I said, "I'd apologize. Hell, I 
can't blame you for how you feel Of 
course you're angry Bui it's gone, can't 
you see that, it's over. You've got to let 
go. You can't tiold me accountable for 
things I can't even remember, okay? All 
that shit happened decades ago. I was 
young, I've changed." The absurdity of 
the thing swept over me. I'd have 
laughed if I'd been able. "I'm dead, for 
pity's sake!" 

A long silence. Then, "So you've fig- 
ured it out." 

"You've known all along," I said bit- 
terly "Ever since I came off the high- 
tension lines in Manayunk." 

She didn't deny it. "I suppose I 
should be flattered that when you were 
in trouble you came to me," she said in 
a way that indicated she was not. 

"Why didn't you tell me then? Why 
drag it out?" 

"Danny — " 

"Don't call me that!" 

"It's your name. Daniel, Daniel Cobb," 

All the emotions I'd been holding 
back by sheer force of denial closed 
about me. I flung myself down and 
clutched the pipe tight, crushing my- 
self against its unforgiving surface. 
Trapped in the friendless wastes of 
night, I weighed my fear of letting go 
against my fear of holding on, 


I said nothing. The Widow's voice took 
on an edgy quality. "Cobb, we can't 
stay here. You've got to lead me out, i 
don't have the slightest idea which way 
to go, I'm lost without your help," 

I still could not speak, 

"Cobb!" She was close to panic. "I 
put my own feelings aside. Back in 
ivianayunk. You needed help and I did 
what I could. Now it's your turn," 

Silently invisibly, I shook my head, 

"God damn you. Danny" she said 
furiously "I won't let you do this to me 
again! So you're unhappy with what a 
jerk you were — that's not my problem. 
You can't redeem your manliness on 
me any more. I am not your fucking sal- 
vation, I am not some kind of cosmic 

last chance and it's not my job to talk 
you down from the ledge," 

That stung. "1 wasn't asking you to," 
I mumbled. 

"So you're still there! Take my hand 
and lead us out." 

I pulled myself together, "You'll have 
to follow my voice, babe. Your memo- 
ries are too intense for me." 

We resumed our slow progress. I 
was sick of crawling, sick of the dark, 
sick of this lightless horrid existence, 
disgusted to the pit of my soul with who 
and what I was. Was tfiere no end Id 
this labyrinth of pipes? 

"Wait," I'd brushed by something. 
Something metal buried in the earth, 

"What is it?" 

"I think it's — " I groped about, trying 
to get a sense of the thing's shape "I 
think it's a cast-iron gatepost Here. 
Wait, Let me climb up and take a look." 

Relinquishing my grip on the pipe, 1 
seized hold of the object and stuck my 
head out of the ground. I emerged at 
the gate of an iron fence framing the 
minuscule front yard of a house on 
Ripka Street. I could see again! It felt 
so good to feel the clear breath of the 
world once more that I closed my eyes 
briefly to savor the sensation, 

"How ironic." Euphrosyne said, 

"After being so heroic," Thalia said. 

"Overcoming his fears." Aglaia said. 

"Rescuing the fair maid from terror 
and durance vile," Cleta said, 

"Realizing at last who he is," 
Phaenna said. 

"Beginning that long and difficult 
road to recovery by finally getting in 
touch with his innermost feelings," 
Auxo said. Hegemone giggled, 

"What?" I opened my eyes. 

That was when the Corpsegrinder 
struck, II leaped upon me with stunning 
force, driving spear-long talons through 
my head and body The talons were 
barbed so that Ihey couldn't be pulled 
free and they burned like molten metal, 
"Ahhhh, Cobb," the Corpsegrinder 
crooned, "Now this is sweet" 

I screamed and it drank in those 
screams so that only silence escaped 
into the outside world. I struggled and 
it made those struggles its own, leav- 
ing me to kick myself deeper and 
deeper into the drowning pools of its 
identity With all my will I resisted. It 
was not enough, ! experienced the lan- 
guorous pleasure of surrender as that 
very will and resistance were sucked 
down into my attacker's substance. 
The distinction between me and it 
weakened, strained, dissolved. I was 

I was the Corpsegrinder now. 
Manhattan is a virtual school for the 
dead. Enough people die there every 

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day to keep any number ot monsters 
fed. From the store of memories the 
CorpsegrJnder had stolen from me, I 
recalled a quiet moment sitting cross- 
legged on the tin ceiling of a sleaze joint 
while table dancers entertained Japan- 
ese tourists on the floor above and a 
kobold instructed me on the finer points 
of survival. "The worst thing you can be 
hunted by," he said, "is yourself." 

"Very aphoristic." 

"Fuck you, I used to be human, too," 


"Apology accepted Look, I told you 
about Salamanders. That's a shitty way 
to go, but at least it's final. When they're 
done with you, nothing remains. But a 
Corpsegrinder is a parasite. It has no 
true identity of its own, so it constructs 
one from bits and pieces of everything 
that's unpleasant within you. Your basic 
greeds and lusts. II gives you a partic- 
ularly nasty sort of immortality. Remem- 
ber that old cartoon? This hideous toad 
saying, 'Kiss me and live forever— 
you'll be a toad, but you'll live forever '" 
He grimaced. "If you get the choice, go 

Fiesta outside of 301h Street Station, 
The engine was going and the heater 
and the windshield wiper, too, so I 
snapped on the radio to mask their 
noise, Beethoven filled the car, the 
Moonlight Sonata. 

"That's bullshit, babe," I said. "You 
know how much I have invested in 
you? I could buy two good whores for 
what that dress cost." She refused to 
meet my eyes. In a whine that set my 
leelh on edge, she said, "Danny, can't 
you see that It's over between us?" 

"Look babe, let's not argue in the 
parking lot, okay?" I was trying hard to 
be reasonable. "Not with people walk- 
ing by and listening. We'll go some- 
place private where we can talk this 
over calmly, like two civilized human 
beings." She shifted slightly in tfie seat 
and adjusted her skirt with a little tug. 
Drawing attention to her long legs and 
fine ass. Making it hard for me to think 
straight. The bitch really knew how to 
twist the knife. Even now, crying and 
begging, she was aware of how it 
turned me on. And even though I hated 

The horror of my existence 
overtook me then, an acute awareness of 

the squalor in which I dwelt, 
the dark mystery informing my universe. 

with the Salamander," 

"So what's this business about hunt- 
ing myself?" 

"Sometimes a Corpsegrinder will 
rip you in two and let half escape. For 


"I dunno. Maybe it likes to play with 
its food. Ever watch a cat torture a 
mouse'' Maybe it thinks it's fun " 

From a million miles away, I thought: 
So now I know what's happened to me. 
I'd made quite a run of it, but now it 
was over. It didn't matter All that mat- 
tered was the hoard of memories, glori- 
ous memories, into which I'd been 
dumped. I wallowed in them, picking 
out here a winter sunset and there the 
pain of a jellyfish sting when I was nine. 
So what if I was already beginning to 
dissolve? I was intoxicated, drunk, 
stoned with the raw stuff of experience. 
I was high on life. 

Then the Widow climbed up the 
gatepost looking for me. "Cobb?" 

The Corpsegrinder had moved up 
the fence to a more comfortable spot in 
which to digest me. When it saw the 
Widow, it reflexively parked me in a 
memory of a gray drizzly day In a Ford 

102 OMNI 

being aroused by her little act, I was. 
The sex was always best after an argu- 
ment; it made her sluttish. 

I clenched my anger in one hand 
and fisted my pocket with it. Thinking 
how much I'd like to up and give her a 
shot. She was begging for it. Secretly, 
maybe, it was what she wanted; I'd 
often suspected she'd enjoy being hit. 
It was too late to act on the impulse, 
though. The memory was playing out 
like a tape, immutable, unstoppable. 

All the while, like a hallucination or 
the screen of a television set receiving 
conflicting signals, I could see the 
Widow, frozen with fear half in and half 
out of the ground. She quivered like an 
acetylene flame. In the memory she 
was saying something, but with the 
shift in my emotions came a corre- 
sponding warping-away of perception. 
The train station, car, the windshield 
wipers and music, all faded to a mur- 
mur in my consciousness. 

Tentacles whipped around the 
Widow, She was caught. She struggled 
helplessly, deliciously. The Corpseg- 
rinder's emotions pulsed through me 
and to my remote horror I found that 
they were identical with my own, I 

wanted the Widow, wanted her so bad 
there were no words for il. I wanted to 
clutch her to me so tightly her nbs 
would splinter and for just this once 
she'd know it was real. I wanted to own 
her. To possess her To put an end to all 
her little games. To know her every 
thought and secret, down to Ihe very 
bottom of her being, 

Mo more lies, babe, I thought, no 
more evasions You're mine now. 

So perfectly in sync was I with the 
Corpsegrinder's desires that it shifted 
its primary consciousness back into 
the liquid sphere of memory where it 
hung smug and lazy, watching, a 
voyeur with a willing agent. I was in 
control of the autonomous functions 
now. I reshaped the tentacles, merging 
and recombining them into two strong 
arms. The claws and talons thai 
clutched the fence I made legs again. 
The exterior of the Corpsegrinder I 
morphed into human semblance, save 
for that great mass of memories sprout- 
ing from our back like a bloated spider- 
sack. Last of all i made the head 

I gave il my own face. 

"Surphsed to see me again, babe?" 
I leered. Her expression was not so 
much fearful as disappointed. "Mo," 
she said wearily, "Deep down, I guess I 
always knew you'd be back." 

As I drew the Widow closer 1 distantly 
knew that all that held me to Ihe Corpse- 
grinder in that instant was our common 
store of memohes and my determina- 
tion not to lose them again. That was 
enough, though. I pushed my face into 
hers, forcing open her mouth Energies 
flowed between us like a feast of tongues. 

I prepared to drink her in, 

There were no barriers between us. 
This was an experience as intense as 
when, making love, you lose all track of 
which body is your own and thought 
dissolves into the animal moment. For 
a giddy instant I was no less her than I 
was myself, I was the Widow staring 
fascinated into ttie filthy depths of my 
psyche. She was myself witnessing her 
astonishment as she realized exactly 
how little I had ever known her. We 
both saw her freeze still to the core with 
horror. Horror not of what I was doing. 

But of what I was. 

I can't take any credit for what hap- 
pened then. It was only an impulse, a 
spasm of the emotions, a sudden and 
unexpected clarity of vision Can a sin- 
gle flash of decency redeem a lite like 
mine? I don't believe it. I refuse to be- 
lieve it. Had there been time for second 
thoughts, things might well have gone 
differently. But there was no time to 
think. There was only time enough to 
feel an upwelling of revulsion, a vis- 
ceral desire to be anybody or anything 

but my own loathsome self, a profound 
and total yearning to be quit of the bur- 
den of such memories as were mine. 
An aching need to just once do the 
moral thing. 

I let go. 

Bobbing gently, the swollen corpus 
of my past floated up and away, carry- 
ing with it the parasitic Corpsegrinder. 
Everything I had spent all my life accu- 
mulating fled from me. It went up like a 
balloon, spinning, dwindling . . . gone. 
Leaving me only what few flat memo- 
ries 1 have narrated here. 

I screamed. 

And then I cried. 

I don't know how long I clung to the 
fence, mourning my loss. But when I 
gathered myself together, the Widow 
was still there, 

"Danny," the Widow said. She didn't 
touch me, "Danny, I'm sorry," 

I'd almost rather that she had aban- 
doned me. How do you apologize for 
sins you can no longer remember? For 
having been someone who, however 
abhorrent, is gone forever? How can 
you expect forgiveness from some- 
body you have forgotten so completely 
you don't even know her name? I felt 
twisted with shame and misery. "Look," 
I said, "I know I've behaved badly. 
More than badly. But there ought to be 
some way to make it up lo you. For, you 
know, everything, Somehow, I mean—" 

What do you say to somebody 
who's seen to the bottom of your 
wretched and inadequate soul? 

"I want to apologize," I said. 

With something very close to com- 
passion, the Widow said, "It's too late 
for that, Danny It's over. Everything's 
over. You and 1 only ever had the one 
trait in common. We neither of us could 
ever let go of anything. Small wonder 
we're back together again. But don't 
you see, it doesn't matter what you 
want or don't want — you're not going to 
get it. Not now. You had your chance. 
It's too late lo make things right," Then 
she stopped, aghast at what she had 
just said. But we both knew she had 
spoken the truth, 

"Widow," I said as gently as I could, 
"I'm sure Charlie^" 

"Shut up." 

I shut up. 

The Widow closed her eyes and 
swayed, as if in a wind, A ripple ran 
through her and when it was gone her 
features were simpler, more schematic, 
less recognizably human. She was al- 
ready beginning to surrender the 

I tried again, "Widow , , ." Reaching 
out my guilty hand to her. 

She stiffened but did not draw away 
Our fingers touched, twined, mated. 

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"Elizabeth," she said, "My name is 
Elizabeth Connelly," 

We huddled together on the ceiling of 
the Roxy through the dawn and the 
blank horror that is day. When sunset 
brought us conscious again, we talked 
through half the night before making 
the one decision we knew all along that 
we'd have to make. 

It took us almost an hour to reach 
the Seven Sisters and climb down lo 
the highest point of Thalia. 

We stood holding hands at the top 
of the mast. Radio waves were gushing 
out from under us like a great wind. It 
was all we could do to keep from being 
blown away 

Underfoot, Thalia was happily chat- 
ting with her sisters. Typically, at our 
moment o! greatest resolve, they gave 
not the slightest indication of interest. 
But they were all listening to us. Don't 
ask me how I knew, 

"Cobb?" Elizabeth said. "I'm afraid." 

"Yeah, me too." A long silence. Then 
she said, "Let me go first. If you go 
first, I won't have the nerve," 


She took a deep breath — funny if 
you think about it— and then she let go, 
and fell Into the sky 

First she was like a kite, and then a 

scrap of paper, and at the very last she 
was a rapidly tumbling speck. I stood 
for a long time watching her falling, 
dwindling, until she was lost in the 
background flicker of the universe, just 
one more spark in infinity. 

She was gone and 1 couldn't help 
wondering if she had ever really been 
there at all. Had the Widow truly been 
Elizabeth Connelly? Or was she just 
another fragment of my shattered self, 
a bundle of related memohes that I had 
to come to terms with before I could 
bring myself to let go? A vast empti- 
ness seemed to spread itself through 
all of existence. I clutched the mast 
spasmodically then, and thought: I can't! 

But the moment passed, I've got a 
lot of questions, and there aren't any 
answers here. In just another instant, I'll 
let go and follow Elizabeth (if Elizabeth 
she was) into the night, I will fall forever 
and I will be converted to background 
radiation, smeared ever thinner and 
cooler across the universe, a Smooth, 
uniform, and universal message that 
has only one decode. Let Thalia carry 
my story to whoever cares to listen. I 
won't be here for iL 

It's time to go now. Time and then 
some to leave, I'm frightened, and I'm 

Wedge slices the dark with 

n a depthless aper- 
-ling with foggy, am- 

with light- But how would he 
form It? His early \ 

of liquefied light In Halifax, 

tendants pushed willing 


tered the spatial dynamic 
of the room, but appeared 

hovering objects. 

In 1968 he joined Robert 


as the Chrysler Building, the ,„ . „ . _ . 

500,000-year-old formation (Wworescent light), above; A' 

will utilize "geologic knowl- . . . . - 

the sky, including rare plan- below; Kono (orgoit and helium light). 



filled bathing pool, will fi 

to his C 

.._. Knocking _. 
the old Mend 

-f the Roden Crater, bottom right. ZT. '" *'^^, °'^ "^tr""'' 
' ^ Hotel, erectmg partitions, 

and controlling the amount 
"of light 

tant galaxies 

Roden Crater is the logi- 

ceptions ot light 
weather fronts. As he 

Guggenheim grant enabled 
hJm !o fly an old Helio- 

._ .. _ __, ___.rch of Ihe 
appropriate land formalion 
for fiis largest work- The 
Roden, tfie ideally shaped 
crater, was not (or sale at 

firsl. But by 1977, \ 

help of tfie Dia Foundation 

ed ii 


pie was found procreating in 
a glowing Turrell. For some, 
ligfit-and-space art proved 
■ -- iting: both the mu- 
i sued by 

port as he returned from de- 
rope. Lindner and Turr 

'--'-" es include glid- 

falling, ct 

two-tracks in her rented 
Bronco that was not insured 

nces of light- 
and-space art. But when the 
pulsed 01 

While tie has reshaped 
rim. enhanced his 
Id raised S6,6 i 

-.. .-- -_ ithan 

100 solo exhibilions, and in 

Omni: What's the difference 
between a Tun-ell and a tra- 
ditional work of art? 

lowship. Critics praise t 

work in otherworldly su- 

-""-■ "^"^— of Ih 

perception, li 
Haystack— fea\ 

in front of the haystack so thai you 
wouldn't miss what there was to see, 
then I'd remove the object of percep- 
tion, the haystack, There'd be no con- 
fusions about what you'd be looking at: 
You'd be looking at your seeing. This is 
direct expenence, as opposed to inter- 
preted experience. 

Omni: So light is perceived as a thing 
in your art discovered by the viewer? 
Ttirrell: We generally see light as the 
bearer of the revelation, something we 
use to illuminate spaces and surfaces, 
as opposed to according it any thing- 
ness itself. Thinly about the lenticular 
cloud, a smooth, saucer-shaped cloud 
formed downstream from an obstruc- 
tion like a mountain range and stand- 
ing still In a high wind, Here comes this 
moisture particle, pushed up just 
enough that the rise precipitates the 
water out of the solution and it be- 
comes visible. What we see, however, 
is light passing through it at 186,000 
miles per second. You're seeing some- 
thing that's not there, but we call it a 
"cloud." We've given c/dl/o' thingness. 

Turrell: A sensing space catches, or 
senses, light — just like the eye or cam- 
era, which we made to appro>;imate 
our vision. In these spaces the light dif- 
fers from ordinary light. In dreams 
we've seen light like this. We dream in 
color. In a lucid dream the colors are as 
rich as, if not richer than, when your 
eyes are open, and the resolution of 
clarity as good as a beautiful, high-alti- 
tude, sunlit morning. People may be 
surprised to see this kind of light in a 
conscious, awake state. 
Omni: How do you create this color? 
Turrell: Normally we make a space and 
turn on the light above. This light emp- 
ties the space of any atmosphere and 
makes It quite blank— the light doesn't 
pervade it like something physical. We 
light architectural spaces with daylight. 
In daylight the iris is completely closed. 
A hch darkness in color only happens 
at a low-level light when the iris is open. 
So you can take your nice little color 
wheel and sail It like a Frisbee, be- 
cause it's meaningless in additive light. 
I take seeing down to the light level 

I have pieces you enter only with vision, 

others that are all around 

you, and some works that you pull over 

your head like a T-shirt. 

IVIuch of my work investigates this idea 
of thingness. I've removed a lot of the 
thingness of objects, but substituted 
the thing of perception and light. I've 
given it materiality, whereas we don't 
normally accord materiality to light, 
Omni: Isn't light a powerful physiologi- 
cal substance? 

Turrell: Absolutely We drink light as vit- 
amin D, They've put it in milk for chil- 
dren, Of course, they've forgotten to 
put It in whiskey to help adults stay away 
from depression. Light strongly affects 
the endocrine system, and now it's 
used to treat certain forms of cancer. 
Omni: Ultraviolet light causes cancer, too. 
Turrell: Light is radiation, I've had 
melanoma, so 1 know. And psychologi- 
cally, stahng into the campfire, we have 
the same relationship to light as a deer 
hesitating in the headlights of a car 
This glazed-eye vision is a kind of ab- 
stract thinking without the symbolism of 
words, a theta state. That power of light 
is what I seek to use. I don't use light 
as a carrier of content, as a movie does, 
Omni: You call the aperture filled with 
foggy light in your Divided Space 
pieces a "sensing space," What do you 
mean by that? 

108 OMf-il 

where the iris opens. The eyes feel, like 
touch, like when you look into the eyes 
of a lover and experience that intensity 
of touch with the eyes. The intimacy of 
being invaded with that kind of look 
can be frightening, 

Omni: How do you construct this sen- 
suous atmosphere'' 

Turrell: I use regular light bulbs, but I 
need to work with them — tape them, 
sometimes they get wrapped. I need 
little light out of them, so I use shut- 
ters — like strips of black tape on a 
plastic tube that you dial to determine 
how much light you let out. I control the 
amount of light that way or with dim- 
mers or a combination of both The big 
thing Is to reduce the light to wtiere the 
eyes open and the feeling is there. In 
the Denver Art fvluseum piece [Trace 
Elements], the wattage is less than one 
candlepower. If you stnke a match, the 
piece is gone. But it seems light-filled. 
Omni: Michael Olijnyk, curator of the 
Mattress Factory, turned up the fluores- 
cent tubes on the aperture in Danae, 
and instantly the piece, which from a 
distance seemed a flat glowing laven- 
der plane, turned into a hole In the wall 
with lights recessed around it. 

Turrell: He didi He shouldn't have done 
thatl How do I know he got it set back 
exactly hght? 

Omni: It seems, then, that you use ordi- 
nary lighting in sophisticated ways. 
Turrell: We don't have the instruments 
of light I'd like. I have in my collection 
an Edison light bulb over 100 years 
old: you can put electricity to it and it 
will light. The light bulbs of today won't 
last 100 years, and they're still a fila- 
ment in an evacuated glass envelope. 
We've had great progress in changing 
the architecture of fixtures and design 
aspects of what holds the light, but I 
can't get a light I can dial from infrared 
up through ultraviolet. fv!y work is going 
to be seen as primitive art not too long 
from now. But I create this instrument of 
seeing out of what's available. 
Omni: Gazing into the aperture in Trace 
Elements, I felt as If I were in a blizzard 
white-out and could hear the wind. 
Turrell: In sensory synesthesia, one 
sense influences sensing in another, 
Sensing is really discontinuous. In a Di- 
vided Space piece you feel the air In 
the aperture is thickened, and you're 
almost breathing this colored fog that 
occupies and inhabits space. Color oc- 
cupies space in a similar way to sound. 
Singing in the shower, you can find one 
or two notes that make your voice res- 
onate in that cavity and sound incredi- 
ble. Light will do the same thing. 

In the kind of space I'm making, I 
use a combination of complex frequen- 
cies, a bit like a painter does. Only one 
color will occupy that volume appropri- 
ately so you search until you find that 
color. When you do, it literally fogs 
up — it looks like light hangs in space. If 
you try to see the wall you have to look 
through this thing, light. It occupies the 
space; it is not an illusion, 
Omni: You don't like the word "illusion?" 
Turrell; I strenuously object to the idea 
that this work is an illusion. The phrase 
trompe I'oeil is used for an image you 
believe to be there that is really not 
there, I'm conjuring up a situation to 
make you understand what really is, 
These works allude to what they really 
are— a space occupied by a different 
kind of light. 

Omni: Viewers have sometimes be- 
come disoriented in your pieces. In 
City of Anhirit. a work in Amsterdam 
and New York, people fell and had to 
crawl out on their hands and knees. 
Turrell: There were four rooms in a row. 
As you left the first, pale green room, 
you retained a pink afterimage. The 
next room was red, and you came to it 
with this pink. People felt someone was 
turning the lights up and down. You 
walked through the rooms to a door. 
The door had no color and looked flat. 

So people felt the doors were closed; 
they looked solid, but we know they're 
not. And then to try to lean against one 
of them? , , . I was startled that people 
would actually believe it so much they 
couldn't see it any other way 
Omni: You sound a bit testy . , . 
Turrell: Well, in 1982 and 1983, I was 
sued for $1.5 million by a person 
whose husband was a Supreme Court 
justice in Oregon. They had big law 
stuff lined up against me, and it cost 
me a lot of money to get out of it. Three 
people fell at the Wfiitney [Museum in 
New York]; They al! sued. I wasn't ac- 
quitted until the case went to federal 
court. The justice's wife broke her wrist. 
He sued me for lack of conjugal privi- 
leges, I said, "Hey, she just broke her 
wrist. I! must have been a hell of a 
hand job." I got $500 in contempt of 
court for that comment. 

Because photos could make the 
work look transparent or so you 
couldn't see through it, they wanted me 
to build the piece again. 1 said, "Give 
me the fee, and I'll be happy to do it 
anywhere you want." This is benign 
work. Sculpture like Mark Di 
Suivero's — swinging steel, big pieces 
of wood, a great deal of mass — you 
can get hit by that thing, hit your head, 
or get squeezed underneath it. One 
guy lost a leg and another was killed. 
In my art someone looks at this and 
there's nothing there — so it's the effect 
of the art. Yes, I was a little testy. 
Omni: Yesterday when we saw Roden 
Crater surrounded by a haze of dust-in- 
fused pink light; you said that vision 
could offer an idea for a piece. What 
thinking processes occur between the 
vision and the completed work? 
Turrell: Looking at the Jacob's Ladder, 
the veils it formed, the Varga, or rain 
that evaporates before it hits the 
ground, I'd ask myself. How, where, do 
you see this? Is it sometiting you see 
way out there, or in here? Something 
you can go through, or enter? Can it be 
worked in the near space, or between 
you and me, so that I can't see I! even 
though we're m the same physical 
space? I play with the idea of the pic- 
ture plane; I have pieces you enter only 
with vision, others you enter that are ail 
around you, and some you pull over 
your head like a T-shirt so the inside 
seeing behind the eyes is affected. 
Omni: Is it true you became interested 
in light as a primary material when you 
discovered you preferred projected 
slides of paintings in art history classes 
to the paintings themselves? 
Turrell: I wanted to work with light be- 
fore that, but it's true, A painting like the 
Mona Lisa is photographed to fill the 
frame, and so is a Barnett Newman, 

whose works are 20 to 30 feet long. 
When projected, they're both the same 
size, although different in actual scale 
More important, the slide is projected 
with light so this luminous quality 
comes off the screen. So seeing the 
original works was a disappointment. 
Omni: You've been a pilot for 30 years — 
ever see light you couldn't explain? 
Turrell: iviany pilots have had interest- 
ing experiences, but they know better 
than to talk about them too much. Peo- 
ple in airline transport have to be "sta- 
ble." Remember the Japan Airlines 
pilot who had a sighting while flying a 
cargo plane out of Anchorage? Some- 
how it was made public and now he's 
a taxi driver in Tokyo, I don't disbelieve 
in UFOs. When I see a light I don't 
question whether it's of this world or 
othenworldly. My first thought at looking 
al any light is. Okay, how do I work 
with that? I'm also interested in the 
styles of observed UFO craft; they've 
changed to follow our own design sen- 
sibility. 1 used to collect UFO models; 
There's the Adamsky disc with the 

That was true, yeah; I even have a hard 
lime rationalizing it today I was trying 
to be reasonable, but it wasn't a rea- 
sonable thing to do. At the time I was 
having difficulty wanting what I did to 
be recognized as art as much as paint- 
ing or sculpture, I don't want to be lim- 
ited to something you can get into an 
elevator, I've been able to fly planes 
because I restore them and sell them, 
so they pass through me, just as the art 
does. As long as it keeps passing 
through . . , when you start to need to 
hold onto it, it becomes troublesome. 
Whose art is this? Who owns it? 
Omni: Who owns Roden Crater? 
Turrell: The Skystone Foundation. And 
it, in fact, owns me. Owning a piece of 
the surface of the earth is an interest- 
ing delusion we've created in a capital- 
ist society. We all think this place is 
mine. Isn't it ludicrous? Basically ob- 
jects are imbued with power of con- 
sciousness continually being injected 
into them. When consciousness leaves, 
these things begin their journey to dust. 
That's what happens with the house, the 

I'm interested in the styles of observed 
UFOs. In the 1920s, they had 

rivets. With the idea of Modernism, they 
became sleek, like Ferraris. 

cupola on top and the Buck Rogers 
style. In the Twenties, UFO craft were 
often described as having rivets; with 
the idea of modernism, they became 
sleek, like Ferraris. 

Omni: What did the Apollo moon mis- 
sions mean to you? 

Turrell: They expanded the sense of 
territory we inhabit with consciousness. 
To see this blue planet rising over the 
surface of the moon was pivotal. 
Martha Graham or Merce Cunningham 
should have choreographed the land- 
ings, Instead, we sent up astronauts to 
drive a golf ball and put a flag up, 
which was all stiff, like a penile implant. 
We rationalize we went to the moon for 
the technological spin-offs— we got 
Tang and Teflon, Sorry, we didn't. We 
took this amazing journey. It should 
have been celebrated by humans, not 
just a nation. 

Omni: Early in your career you resisted 
the notion art could be bought and 
sold. Didn't you once take back a 
piece you'd sold to a collector and, in 
Its place, leave the collector a restored 
vintage Cadillac? 

Turrell; These are interesting sto- 
ries . . , they oould be true as well. 

relationship, when thought leaves it. 
Omni: Well, recently you've done col- 
lectible prints and drawings that raise 
money for building the crater, 
Turrell: Now I make aquatints, wax 
emulsion drawings, and double-image 
photographs you view through stereop- 
tic glasses, I made a hologram of the 
crater from the air, Bruce Nauman 
works with holograms, too, but they're 
of his face or testicles, and lack the im- 
pression of science. 
Omni: What led you to create Roden 
Crater as art? 

Turrell: I always wanted to do a monu- 
mental earthwork. It's about taking this 
cultural artifact we call "art" into the 
natural surrounding. We have a tradi- 
tion of bringing painting and photogra- 
phy of nature involved with light into the 
museum — like the Hudson River 
School and Ansel Adams. If you take 
art into nature it can easily be overpow- 
ered. For me to take art into natural sur- 
roundings was not so much to take 
nature on. Instead of competing with 
the sunset, I wanted to use it, as light, 
and create a situation where percep- 
tions were heightened more than they 
would be without art there. 

and had the shaping on top I needed. 
Flying for seven months, back and 
forth, just looking ai landscape and 
thinking, was one of the most special 
times of my life. I considered a volcano 
at the bottom of Craters of the Moon 
[National Monument] in Idaho, and one 
in a pretty little volcanic field near 
Baker, California, Roden was my favorite. 
Omni: How did you reshape the crater? 
Turrell: I moved 400,000 cubic yards of 
cinder from high to low spots on the rim 
to give it a uniform height. It's not all 
done, but the crater now actually shapes 
the sky. It's such a relief. We were 
about 200,000 yards into it and celes- 
tial vaulting hadn't happened. Now, 
you'll come to the top of the crater wall 
through a tunnel into an oval, roofless 
chamber, and the sky that seemed so 
flat, even opaque, suddenly will be- 
come domelike. At night, the stars will 
seem to form the huge vault of space. 
You'll get this sense of closure although 
nothing physical is there. 

space alters the sensations of the earth 
moving by removing the horizon. Each 
space will have something for morning 
and night. The only stable point to look 
at is the stars, so you'll select them as 
your reference. After a time, that stable 
reference point will move, and you'll 
physically feel as if you're leaning. It's 
not an illusion. Some portions of sky 
have more old light — light coming from 
farther away With the Milky Way you're 
seeing light from our galaxy. The sun's 
light is newer, like pounng Beaujolais 
into space. To have light from stars 
older than the Milky Way means select- 
ing those areas of sky to align with a 
space. Then you have relatively old 
light present to touch. 
Omni: How else will visitors encounter 
the "music of the spheres?" 
Turrell: You will have to swim into sev- 
eral spaces. In one space in the Upper 
Fumarole, the crater's secondary vent, 
you can sit in a nice, warm bath that 
also acts like an apochromatic lens to 
focus the three ma|or colors in the same 
place. The pool will be a sensing place 

I got caught up in, dazzled, or fascinated 

by light. It was like Andy 

Warhol stepping into a supermarket and 

being astounded by it. 

Omni: How will the chamber work"? 
Turrell: Take a small amount of light into 
an underground chamber that oc- 
cludes light you don't want, and light 
you do want will be very strong. Take a 
sunnse: In a landscape it can be strong, 
but if you take the light from it into a 
place that's occluding all other ambient 
light, you make it even more intense. 

I'll make precise bunkerlike slits so 
that light from the horizon up streams 
into them. This gives ambient light from 
an area a spatial quality; it will have 
one aspect at night and another at day. 
It will change with the season. The am- 
bient light creates a background 
"noise," or setting. When there's an 
event in light, it will come through and 
destroy this sense of atmosphere with 
its image. These events last sometimes 
less than 14 minutes. 
Omni: What celestial events will the 
chamber intensify? 

Turrell: The spaces look at different 
portions of sky Small changes in light- 
source location will make huge 
changes in what you'll see. Four cardi- 
nal spaces take in general light; east 
and west spaces are specifically for 
rich floral, sunset colorations. The north 
110 OMM 

and will hold the light. The entire cham- 
ber will be surrounded by a Faraday 
cage — an opening that allows electro- 
magnetic signals to come through a 
mesh of wire in the concrete making 
the space act like a radioteiescope. On 
the bottom sits a mirror like a satellite 
dish, so when you lie down at an angle 
with your ears under water, you'll hear 
the radio sources of the stars, sun, 
Jupiter, the quasars, or whatever area 
of sky you're looking at, 
Omni: Is "the sacred" a part of it? 
Turrell: I look at contexts and am forced 
to deal with them, I might create a situ- 
ation that is like a lourney to a place 
where you'd encounter a night-bloom- 
ing cereus. Maybe you'd take a horse 
or four-wheel drive. After finding the 
cactus on this one full-moon night 
when it blooms, you'd watch its flower 
open and orient to the moon. You'd rush, 
because the insects have one night to 
pollinate the plant. As the moon sunk 
below the canyon walls, the flower would 
close and in the morning it would drop. 
Now in New York, someone in a nice 
penthouse with a greenhouse might 
serve some great margaritas and blue 
corn-chip tortillas with guacamole, and 

ject of perception would be the same, 
but the experience different. 
Omni: Were you thinking of the crater's 
context when you decided to become 
a cowboy? 

Turrell: Please, I'm not a cowboy, I'm a 
rancher! There are different job descrip- 
tions here. To begin with, the beauty of 
the place attracted me, so I noticed 
some diminution of it because of some 
overgrazing. The land around the 
crater, its setting and context, is impor- 
tant. So not dealing with the landscape 
is terribly arrogant. By practicing holis- 
tic range management, we plan to 
bring back 155 square miles of grass- 
land. This area has been traditionally 
ranched since the 1860s — if I didn't 
graze it someone else would. When we 
first applied for grazing rights they 
were denied because we weren't 
ranchers, so we had to become ranch- 
ers. To take ranching into the twenty- 
first century, you have to respond to 
environmental issues. It's been an inter- 
esting process, learning about the rela- 
tionship of grasses to grazing animals. 
Omni: How will visitors get out here? 
Turrell: We'll do eight to ten lours a day. 
I'll have a staff to take people out. 
There will be a ramp for the handi- 
capped; there aren't too many volcanic 
craters where you can go all the way to 
the top in a wheelchair There'll be as 
many events dunng the night as during 
the day, so people can stay overnight. 
Beds will be canted toward openings, 
so visitors will be awakened by an 
image of the sun overhead. 
Omni: How will the celestial events 
change over time? 

Turrell; I can go to the planetarium, 
model the crater's spaces with card- 
board, and actually see what's going to 
happen in the future. The continent is 
moving about an inch a year to the 
north. Celestial events are made to be 
seen over the next 26,000-year cycle of 
Polaris; the events will be seen in the 
center of the spaces about 2,000 years 
from now in 4,000 years they'll be 
where they are now, but on the oppo- 
site side of the space. After that they'll 
begin to go out of the spaces. In the 
year 25,800 what you see will be lo- 
cated where it was in 1900, while in the 

eroding. In some way this is the mak- 
ing of a pre-ruin. 

Omni: What will you do when you finish 
Roden Crater? 

Turrell: I have other outdoor projects in 
mind. The next I want to do is on Mars, 
You have to have goals! You don't 
know if you're getting there if you don't 
have goals !00 


was what actors called actor-proof. It 
had been like shooting fish in a barrel. 
Hardly any resistance. They could have 
sent Bo-Bo the chimp and tie would 
have garnered every ribbon and medal 
given to Johnson. That hogwash about 
rescuing his men from an encirclement. 
A leader took care of his men, that was 
that That appointment should have 
been mine, Slater often whispered 
through gritted teeth. 

For Frank Slater, the killing had be- 
come pleasurable early on. Dumb shit 
Brad Johnson with his professional 
scruples He'd have let that diseased 
kid get away that day, Ten-year-old kid, his 
eyes already a deep red with CHROMO. 
his movements erratic. The little twerp 
would've infected half the damned 
Sprawl. One shot brought him down. 
Little guy. He remembered Johnson's 
look. Made Slater happy for a week. 

Taking Brad Johnson's place would 
be only logical. Should have come 
sooner, but . . . what the hell. Com- 
manding the Squads was what Slater 
was born for. And hey — it was for the 
public weal, wasn't it? He was the bul- 
wark between CHROMO and the gut- 
less populace hiding up in the great 
citadel, in their mile-high condos, away 
from the Sprawl. Away from the poverty 
the stink, the CHROMO— the action. 

He was a hunter by disposition, by 
nature. Though hunting CHROfvIO vec- 
tors was not entirely satisfying; they 
had no means with which to fight back, 
not much defense. Oh, occasionally an 
armed ragtag inflicted a casualty or 
two among his men, or the rare armed 
rebel appearing out of nowhere, wild- 
eyed, making a suicide attack. 

These skirmishes kept the politicos 
generous and on their toes. Funding was 
never a worry; the fat asses gave him 
more than he asked. Invitations to their 
fancy homes, too. The menfolk uneasy 
with him. the women fascinated. He 
found the women disgustingly easy and 
eventually of no interest to him at all. 

Slater looked forward to no more than 
the hunt, may it last forever. That, and 
the final showdown with Brad Johnson. 
Big fucking hero Johnson, has-been 
drunk, his eyeballs rolling with opti- 
cube use. Christ, how he hated that 
son of a bitch! Killing his brother had 
been most satisfying. Now Frank Slater 
looked fonward to killing Brad Johnson. 

Slowly would be good. 

Killing Lightstone — the Lightslone — 
would then be the capstone of his ca- 
reer. He was bound to be persona most 
grata and — in the highest circles. Mael- 

strom himself — der alte-el supremo — 
would place the circle of blue ribbon 
around his neck. On national vid. The 
nation's highest award. Nothing closed 
to him, nothing held back. Oh, the swells 
would still regard him with what they 
thought was condescension. But it was 
weak, like the light wave from an ex- 
hausted weapon, its power source 
used up. It was he. Slater, who held the 
high ground, from which he regarded 
them all. Only Maelstrom loomed 
above, and that aerie Slater granted to 
him readily gladly 

Maelstrom after all, was Maelstrom. 

Sonia Masters leaned closer to one of 
the screens. Her lithe body twisted 
slightly as she strove to force a result 
with body English, Raymond Masters 
watched her while he pretended to 
read his news printout of the day He 
needn't bother to pretend, he knew. 
She was so absorbed she would not 
have noticed him dancing a hornpipe. 

It would be impossible, he knew, to 
make her understand the proiect. She 
only saw her own efforts at finding the 
key Her world was m that multiscreen 
workstation, staring at the damned 
' CHROMO configuration. He watched 
her edge the substructure closer to the 
CHROMO grape cluster. CHROMO shied 
away as it always did; coy. quivering 
with seeming vulnerability Raymond's 
lips formed a sneer CHROMO was about 
as vulnerable as laminated rocket skin. 
His sneer turned into a genuine smile 
as he saw CHROMO gather itself, cer- 
tain now of its foe's essential weakness. 
It straightened. The quivering stopped, 
Like a faking fighter, it came off the 
ropes, suddenly not tired or weak. 
Adapted. Quickly easily 

Sonia shook her head, her lustrous 
hair spilling about her shoulders, then 
bent to the task again. Masters checked 
the time. Soon he would be speaking 
at the shareholders' meeting. Mael- 
strom had insisted that he. Masters, 
speak first. The first words on the road 
to Project Habitat. Raymond felt the 
beads of sweat on his upper lip. He 
patted It gently with a fresh, stiff linen 

It would be a dead end, this sub- 
structure. Promising, then nothing. 
CHROMO was too good. Too adaptive. 
He remembered reading about the old 
ebola strain, late twentieth century The 
victims took It to the grave. Outbreaks 
were sporadic and limited. CHROMO, 
on the other hand, weakened and 
maddened its victims, but they sur- 
vived far longer. The vector, an incuba- 
tor of swarming, multiplying billions of 
bacteria, staggered on to infect others, 
CHROMO was smart. 

Sonia leaned closer again, to the 
screens. Her concentration, Raymond 
marveled, was total. It really was time 
they were going. 

The greater scheme, the enormous 
enterprise, would be beyond her. The 
project did not lend itself to easy de- 
scription, and besides, she would never 
understand or condone Raymond's 
sacnflces in the cause of the greatest 
industrial ... It was no use, he though, 
looking at his wife's intent face. He 
would never tell her either, of the sacri- 
fices he had made in the name of the 
enterprise, would go on making as it 
matured into reality What was it Jeremy 
Bentham said — "greatest good for the 
greatest number?" Bentham would 
have understood. Sonia never would. 

And CHROMO was the key Sonia 
searched for the key to CHROMO, not 
knowing the disease was itself the 
main element in the great enterprise. 
Without it, there was no enterprise, no 
Maelstrom, in fact. The entire structure 
would collapse without its basic under- 
pinning. That was the great secret. 

Masters marveled at the paradox: 
CHROMO needed us and. m its strug- 
gle for primacy killed us. And we, for 
our own purposes, needed the dead- 
liest plague we had ever known. 


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and data communjcation with data pro- 
cessing, I'll be on the road and access 
iTiy computer back at the office, ac- 
cess all databases of the Internet or 
any online service, receive and trans- 
mit data, and process it on the spot." 

Snediker adds: "Instead of a central 
processor, cars may have 20 comput- 
ers on board — little guys, all networked 
together That's done by micromachines," 

"Miniaturization will play a key role in 
developing intelligent transportation 
systems," says Millett. "In 10 years, we 
won't have self-driving cars, but we'll 
pack much more functional communi- 
cations into Ihem^on-board naviga- 
tion, mapping, traffic and weather 
reports, calling police or tow truck with 
information about where the car is." 

Snediker squints his eyes and mea- 
sures with his fingers, "At Battelle, 
we've built a wee little heat pump the 
size of a dime. By itself, that's just an 
exercise in miniaturization. But think of 
covering a wall with them. Suddenly, 
you can have a wall that's hot on one 
side and cool on the other. That takes 
you away from central heating and 
cooling. Miniaturizing creates enor- 
mous opportunities fo put things pre- 
cisely where they're needed, 

"Within five years," he expounds. 
"forerunners of nanotechnology will in- 
volve medical devices — things put un- 
obtrusively Into your body to do some- 
thing without hooking you up to a ma- 
chine — something going via a needle tip 
into a vein or a tiny implant sampling 
your blood or measuring pH and wire- 
lessly transmitting the results. Baby 
boomers are reaching an age where 
their parts are starling lo wear out," 

The integration of power, sensors, 
and controls is the sixth influential tech- 
nology on the list. Snediker explains 
why, "Our ability to model atoms and 
molecules has been paced with our 
ability to model systems. Better under- 
standing systems enables us to de- 
velop increasingly sophisticated 
sensors that sharpen our control over 
systems. The more precise control, the 
less energy a system consumes. In the 
near future, automobiles and other ma- 
chines will be very carefully and ele- 
gantly controlled, Honda recently 
unveiled an engine that reputedly 
meets California's 1997 clean-air re- 
quirements, A central feature of the en- 
gine is an extremely tight electronic 
function-management system," 

Millett offers another example "In 
many factories engineers do computer- 
based product design that then must 

be downloaded and translated manu- 
ally into controls for machines on the 
factory floor. As more sensors and 
feedback loops are introduced on the 
assembly line, these 'smart systems' 
could come to control manufacturing 
from design input to product output," 

Omni Interviewer Bennett Daviss 
takes the process another step "It 
would be great if you could walk into 
an auto showroom, step into something 
like a virtual-reality booth, and custom 
design your own car," You wouldn't yet 
choose your own technical specifica- 
tions or alloys, but you might have a 
choice of chassis, two or three en- 
gines, and almost unlimited choices of 
accessories. Your car would be deliv- 
ered in three weeks!" 

But what about the human body? 
Battelle chose anliaging technologies 
as the seventh on the list. According to 
Hassler, "With proper self-care a typical 
human can live to about 120, based on 
the number of errors that gradually 
creep into our D(MA replications until 
we have a critical failure somewhere in 
the system. The more frivolous at- 
tempts to combat aging have gotten 
the most attention because they affect 
outward appearance. But antiaging 
technologies are moving in much more 
significant directions." 

Dr Joyce Durnford, microbiologist, 
joins the discussion' "Relin-A for wrin- 
kles and alpha hydroxy acids to en- 
courage hair growth are among the few 
appearance- related things that work to 
some degree. True antiaging technolo- 
gies address illnesses and deteriora- 
tion that come with aging, like heart 
attacks and arthritis We expect to see 
dramatic advances made against 
chronic diseases, particularly as we 
develop immunotherapies to tweak the 
body into helping itself. 

"We think a runaway inflammatory 
response promotes some heart attacks 
and some arthritis," Durnford contin- 
ues, "Pharmaceutical houses are de- 
veloping drugs to control the early 
stages of these responses," 

"Cells at an infection or injury site 
produce on their surfaces cell-adhesion 
molecules (CAMs) that signal blood 
cells to stop what they're doing and at- 
tack the problem. We're targeting vari- 
ous structurally identical substances 
that could do the same job and be pro- 
duced synthetically, says Durnford, In 
conditions provoked by a runaway im- 
mune response, a CAM might stop an 
early step in the condition's develop- 
ment. Some CAM therapies should be 
in common use in 10 years." 

In this context, "antiaging" means 
things that extend productive life, "En- 
tire classes of tissue replacements are 

being developed," says Durnlord, 
"Synthetic skin and collagen could be 
used for replacement in several ways. 
Polymers affiliated with particular 
human growtfi factors will be injected 
at an implant site, stimulating Itie 
body's tissue to adtiere to ttie implant 
quicker and better" 

"Medical science has provided lots 
of spare parts for people," adds Millett, 
"but so far they tend to come from the 
'juni^yard,' More of these parts will re- 
quire tailored materials, sophisticated 
miniaturized control circuits, a lot of 
embedded computer capability. This 
molecular design and miniaturization 
technology is lying around in our labs 
and in many products, but instead of 
being in my coffee pot, 10 years from 
now it might be in my neighbor." 

From bioreplacements the discus- 
sion moves to number eight on the list: 
precisely targeted medical treatments. 
Durnlord *irst compares this to a more 
commonly unoerstood process of radi- 
ation treatment. "Techniques of attach- 
ing radiation to antibodies to identify 
tumors is well eslablished in treating 
several types of metastatic cancers It 
you isolate and synthesize an antibody 
specific to colon cancer tissue, and 
bind a radioactive molecule to it, you 
can give the antibody intravenously 
and it will travel throughout the body 
and attach itself to the tumor. Putting 
the patient m an imaging camera, basi- 
cally a Geiger counter, you see where 
the malignant tissue is. Now, a new 
hand-held device lets the surgeon 
scan for radioactivity during surgery to 
Oe sure all malignancy is gone. Using 
the antibody to carry a drug, instead of 
radioactivity, is promising, but although 
antibodies deliver the drug to the tumor 
surface, they usually fail to penetrate 
inside. People are working on that." 

"You can broaden the idea of tar- 
geted therapy," Durnford theorizes. 
Hormones, growth factors, a variety of 
proteins have specific docking sites on 
specific cells. Any one of them could be 
used to deliver a drug to a specific organ 
that needs it. We can expand targeted 
therapeutics to putting drugs not only 
where but also when they're needed." 

The discussion turns to the ninth 
technology hybrid fuel systems for ve- 
hicles. ■■We don't see a single-source 
solution to the vehicle fuel problem," 
begins Millett. "A strategic technology 
at a systems level is a vehicle that can 
carry multiple fuels and switch back 
and torth among them under control of 
a smart system. An internal combus- 
tion engine, a bit bigger than a lawn- 
mower engine that gets 80 miles per 
gallon, accelerates the vehicle. Then at 
a preset cruising speed, it switches 

over to compressed natural gas 
(CNG), electricity, or some other fuel by 
sensing pressure changes on the ac- 
celerator pedal. 

"Fuel is political as hell," posits 
Snediker. "From a technical standpoint, 
everything is in place to do something 
significantly different. If the entire Mid- 
dle East was suddenly cut off, we 
could burn natural gas, alcohol, coal, 
or manure, "We have an expectation 
everyone has an inalienable right to 
own a car. Everyone assumes those 
cars will be fueled by stored energy 
carried on board as a liquid and dis- 
tributed nationally To create economic 
pressure powertul enough to change 
the social expectations would take either 
a national emergency or very gradual, 
long-term shift. Right now, there's no 
social or environmental pull on new fuel 
technologies. No market pull." 

Millett predicts that it will be at least 
50 years before the U.S. national vehi- 
cle fleet runs predominantly on fuels 
that are not derived from petroleum. In 
20 years, however, Snediker believes 

ment. People can make decisions, see 
consequences immediately, then see 
how other decisions alter those conse- 
quences. When people can do that, 
they gain insight into what works and 
what doesn't. Ten years from now, sim- 
ulation games could replace TV shows 
as a major form of entertainment." 

Once all 10 of these technologies 
have been accomplished, what tech- 
nologies will exist on this list in 2006? 
Millett muses. "Information storage and 
retrieval should make the top 10 in 
2006. Somewhere on that list will be 
high-quality products custom-designed 
and affordably manufactured to an in- 
dividual's explicit orders — clothes, ap- 
pliances, luggage, all manner of 
things. Quite possibly hydrogen energy 
will be releasing the huge amount of 
energy locked in water Management of 
water resources will make the top 10, 
driven by demand for resources in the 
oceans: growing crops, extracting min- 
erals, and so forth, 

"Many believe we're on the verge of 
new wohdwide epidemics," Millett con- 

A few years ago, scientists at 
Oliio State used deep-fry oil in place of 

diesel fuel and it worked. The 
bus exhaust smelled like McDonald's, 

that '■city freeways will probably permit 
no vehicles weighing more than 1,500 
pounds. These cars will have little ce- 
ramic engines with exquisite controls 
that get extremely high gas mileage 
and won't be able to go faster than 
60 miles an hour You'll own a little car 
and rent the behemoth to take you over 
highways on long trips. Two of my 
neighbors do that now." 

Finally, the tenth technology Is edu- 
tainment, which may be construed as 
an application of technology rather 
than a technology in itself. As Millett ex- 
plains, "Learning from books is me- 
dieval. It's just not the most efficient 
way for people to learn. Vision is the 
most powerful sense for most people, 
so information certainly will become 
more visual. Ultimately, it may become 
three-dimensional. A major area of 
development will be computerized sim- 
ulation. People can choose a situa- 
tion—the battle of Gettysburg, 
corporate management, their mar- 
riage—and test their ideas, see what 
happens, and rerun scenarios to see 
how different strategies affect the out- 
come. Business is already involved in 
simulation as a tool to develop judg- 

tinues. "Identifying, preventing, and re- 
sponding to them might well be on the 
list in 2006. Technological responses to 
the demand for personal safety of other 
kinds will be there, too. Several states 
have legislation pending allowing peo- 
ple to carry concealed weapons. De- 
mand for personal sensors to detect 
harmful objects like guns in our vicinity 
will rise. A jogger might carry a little 
sensor alerting him or her when an- 
other person comes within 10 feet. 
Home and car security systems could 
be improved by better sensors, more 
accurate information, and immediate 
communication with police or emer- 
gency units. Consumer demand for 
foods high m nutrition and fiber, low in 
fat, and all natural, will be strong. Work 
in plant genetics is progressing slower 
than some predicted, but shows 
promise in engineering food." 

Bennett Daviss poses his final ques- 
tion to the scientist of the future and the 
leader of this esteemed group: "Which 
technologies surprised you by not 
making this year's list?" 

Milletfs response: "A cure for the 
common cold didn't even come up in 
conversation. "DO 



A pair of square, wooden puzzles goes plastic 

By Scot Morris 

The best mechanical puz- 
zles appear simple but turn 
out to be disarmingiy diffi- 
cult, until yoLi know the secret, 
it's rare for a new secret 
lo come along that Is so sim- 
ple it could have been 
discovered centuries ago but 
wasn't, but it has happened 
recently with two new ideas 
Invented by woodwork ng 
hobbyists, they've earned 
the ultimate commerc al 
accolade: They are now ava I 
able in plastic. 

Bill Cutler of Palatne ill 
nois, built puzzles with 
blocks ol varying sizes that 
had to be inserted in a 
certain order to fill a box ex 
actiy. His father-in-law 
found the box-filling puzzles 
too difficult even to try, 
so Cutler wanted to make 
him a joke gift: a puzzle 
thai would appear absurdly 
simple but would turn out 
to be extremely difficult. The 
simplest configuration 
was four cubes that appeared 
identical but, once removed 
from the box, would turn out 
not to be perfect cubes at 
all — and to be maddeningly 
difficult lo gel back in, 

1 tried designing varied 
pieces with ail sorts of 
concealed angles, but it 
would be a woodworker's 
nightmare," Cutler told me. 
"Late one night, the final 

isign c 

e ton 

all four pieces could be 
exactly alike!" 

Cutler calls the final fiend- 
ish construction Blockhead, 

and it's shown in oak above 
(spiked on the nails) and 
on the opposite page in one 
of the many incorrect con- 
figurations thai prevent the 
four pieces from fitting in 
the box. Martin Gardner called 
11B omn; 

Two wooden puzzles, Bill Cutler's Blackhead — in oak. on the nails 

above — and Ken Walker's jigsaw puzzle, became so 
popular that they're available in plastic (plastic pgsaw shown above). 

the Blockhead puzzle 
"one of the best mechanical 
puzzles to come along 
this century." You can easily fit 
three pieces back into the 
box, but the fourth just won't 
go. How many wrong 
ways are there to put four 
blocks in a box? You'd 
be surprised. 

Cutler's wood originals 
sold at $40 apiece, a 
price that made them attrac- 
tive only to serious collec- 
tors. Now, due in part to those 
collectors' rave reviews, 
the Blockhead puzzle has 
been pressed into a multi- 
colored plastic version, shown 

both assembled and disas- 
sembled on the opposite 
page (upper right). Mar- 
keted by Wit's End of San 
Jose, California, it's called 
Stark Raving Cubes and 
sells for about $12. 

In 1992 Ken Walker of 
Livermore, California, 
came up with an unusual way 
of cutting jigsaw pieces 
out of wood. Setting the plat- 
form of his scroll saw a 
couple of degrees off hori- 
zontal, he found that by 
varying the tilt of the cut he 
could produce a four- 
piece puzzle in which each 
piece can slide completely 

off eilher adjacent piece, but 
not both at the same time. 
In the upper right corner of the 
opposite page (under the 
olastic Stark Raving Cubes 
ouzzie) is a sample cut 
from wood. On this page, at 
left, is a plastic version 
that demonstrates one of the 
puzzle's mosl interesting 
properties: Held by one piece, 
the others disengage by 
about half their widths, but 
the assembly stays whole. 
The top piece is completely 
free from ttie bottom. 

Once you know the geo- 
metric secret, you can 
separate the pieces in a cou- 
ple of seconds. You'd 
nave no difficulty putting 
two or three of them to- 
gether again, but the fourth 
just won't fit 

Jerry Slocom, puzzle his- 
torian and owner of the 
world's largest puzzle col- 
lection, called Walker's 
idea "elegant, ingenious, and 
diabolical. When you look 
al it, you think it is too simple: 
when you try it, you would 
swear it's impossible. Yet it 
does come apart. It's a 
brand-new idea, a brilliant 
puzzle that will become 
a classic," 

Walker went so far as lo 
apply for a patent, because 
he saw his new way of engag- 
ing and disengaging parts 
making possible new kinds 
of fasteners for clothes, 
handbags, and other items. 
Deeming Walker's idea 
new and useful, the U,S 
Patent Office gave him 
Patent Number 5,409,227 
last April, 

Wood puzzles individually 
cut are expensive, but the 
plastic version now available, 
marketed by Binary Arts, 

sells in toy stores for about 

The Itnkage puzzle, left 
unanswered in the fall 
issue, has a simple solution: 
The pencil will irace the 
shape ot an infinity sign, the 
logo of Omn/ magazine. 
Here are some more puzzles 
to stretch your brain cells. 

1 . Name two parts of the body 
that, to change from the 
singular to the plural, require 
changing all the vowels, 

2, Name two common English 
words that are spelled one 
way when applied to females 
and another way when ap- 
plied to males. 

3, Usually adding the tetter 
"s" to the end of a word 
changes the number of the 
word (that is, singular to 
plural) but not the gender of 
the word. DavelOOOO®- asks. "What word is 
it that, when the single 
letter 's' is added to the end. 
changes both its number 
and gender?" 

4. These words have one 
very unusual property 
in common: polish, nice, 
job, herb, tangier. ravel. 
What is it? 

5, The words in question 
were the only English 
words I l<new with 
this strange 
property until 
I discovered 
while drinlt- 
ing beer at a 
bar in Seattle, What 
is it? 

6. Insatiable chesty 
pictures: These 
three words can 
each be trans- 
posed into one and 

only one other English 
word by shifting their letters. 
What are the "other 
words" for each of the three? 
7. 1 saw an unusual pair 
of sunglasses that had the 
regular large lenses and 
a second set of small lenses, 
embedded m the frame, 
for close-up viewing. They 
were in a specialty sport- 
ing-goods store, What i<.ind 
of store was it? 
8, Me\ Stover tells me he 
knows of a specialized 
set of glasses for people 
whose occupation re- 
quires them to see far. at arm's 
length, and close up. 
Who are these specialized 
irilocals for? 

9, 1 have heard of another set 
of custom glasses— bifo- 
cals with the separations ver- 
tical rather than horizontal, 
so that the wearer might have 
far vision to the left and 
near vision to the right, tor 
example. Who might 
want such specialty glasses? 
10. How can you draw a 
perfect oval with one turn of 
a compass? 

n. Three 
thieves — 
Manny. Moe. 
and iviack^ 
s;eal a number 
ot identical 
gold coins and 
start to divide them 
. It occurs to 
lyianny that it 
will be unfair 
if the coins 
cannot be 
evenly by 
three. Ivlack 
comes up with a 
solution to divide the 
coins fairly, before 
counting them, and 

so that 
there can 
be no dis- 
pute over 

possible ^ ... 

imbalances. ^^C 
What was '"^•7 

lulack's ^ 

12. Paddling 
his canoe in 
a river, Hans 
uncori^s cham- 
pagne and _ 
throws the cork 
into the river, He rows 
upstream 10 minutes and 
then has a crisis of 
conscience. Realizing he 
shouldn't litter, he in- 
stantly paddles downstream 
in search of the cork. He 
picks it up exactly one mile 
from the place where 
he dropped it. How fast is 
the current? 


1 . Foot/feel and tooth/teeth. 

2. "Blondes" and "bru- 
nettes" are always female: 
males with such hair col- 
or are "blond" and "brunet." 

3. Princes/princess, Note 
the odd change in number, 
from plural to singular. 

4. All the words change their 
pronunciations when 

5. The word is "rainier" {lor ex- 
ample, it's rainier today 
than yesterday). Capitalized, 
it becomes Rainier— the 
mountain, ale, or phnceof 

6. Banalities, scythe, piecrust, 

7. A fishing store. Anglers 
need to shift their gaze from 
far to near, for tying flies, 
baiting hooks, and so on, 

8. A concert musician. 

9. A portrait painter. 

10. First wrap the paper 

around a cylinder. The 
shape a compass draws will 
be an oval, 

1 1 . The three agree before 
counting the coins that 
they will split them evenly 
down to the remainder. 

If there is no remainder, all is 
well. If there is one coin 
remaining, Manny gets it. If 
there are tvrt) coins remain- 
ing, Moe and Mack each get 
one. In this way, each 
thief has exactly one- third 
chance of getting an 
extra coin from the "remain- 
ders," In other words, in 
all cases m which there is a 
dispute, 50 percent of 
the time Manny will get one 
extra and the other 50 
percent of the time Moe and 
Mack will each get one extra, 

12, Three miles per hour. In 
the closed system of the 
flowing stream, the distance 
between cork and 

boat doesn't depend on the 
stream's current. Hans 
has been separated from 
the cork for 20 minutes, 
and in that time, the cork 
has gone one mile. It 
will drift three miles in an 
hour, so the speed of 
the current is three miles 
per hour.OO 

119 OMNI 



Seeing the laws of physics in relative terms 

By Christopher Keliey 

Learning Uie 

Theory of 

Relativity and 


laws at a young 

age may 

prevent broken 

noses and 

bruised arms. 

It's never too late to learn. Then 
again, it's never too early ei- 
ther, Tai<e physics for exam- 
ple. I always thought Newton 
was just some guy who made 
great fig cookies. I was aston- 
ished to learn that he had also 
discovered a complex system of 
laws that govern the universe. 
Knowing these laws as a kid, I 
could have gotten much better 
grades in science class. I also 
could have pointed out to my 
older brother, Paulie, how totally 
unscientifically he behaved, 

Newton's first law states, "An 
object at rest or in a slate of uni- 
form motion," such as my nap- 
ping brother Paulie, "tends to 
remain in that state," unless his 
little brother is bored and stupid 
enough to try out law number two, 
Law two says. "When an object 
is accelerated by force," such as 
being woken up by a punch in 
the arm, "the amount of acceler- 
ation is equal to the force divided 
by the mass of the object." 

However, it was always law 
number three that gave me the 
most trouble. Law three says, 
"For every action there is an 
equal and opposite reaction," By 
sneaking up and hitting Paulie in 
the arm, I would not produce an 
equal and opposite reaction but 
a reaction 30 times as violent as 
the punch I delivered. At first, I 
thought this was unfair. But later, 
as I learned more about sci- 
ence, I found out that this 
phenomenon was ex-| 
J plained by 
'"Theory of Relativity," 
' which says if you punch a ' 
relative, especially i 
older and bigger 

than you, you'll have to learn to 
eat your meals through a straw 
for ttie next two weeks. 

Newton's incomplete version 
of his "laws of motion" can be ex- 
plained by the "law of probabil- 
ity," a complex statistical 
equation which suggests Newton 
"probably" had no older siblings. 

taking me to the hospital she told 
my father what had happened, 
and the second law of thermody- 
namics kicked in. 

Law two states "a sponta- 
neous tendency of energy to- 
ward the highest degree of 
randomness." Paulie, not willing 
to donate any body parts to scl- 

Einstein, in all likelihood, was the youngest 

in his family. As a child, he would have 
learned the harsh reality of teasing gone bad. 

This would account for such a 
gross mathematical error in New- 
ton's theory — little siblings just 
don't pack the same punch as 
bigger siblings after being rudely 
awakened, ("the law of diminish- 
ing returns"). 

Another set of laws I wish I 
had known of earlier were the 
first two laws of thermodynamics. 
The first law states that "energy 
can be neither created nor de- 
stroyed but only changed." If I 
had known that, I wouldn't have 
been so worried when Paulie 
smashed the energy forming my 
nose. He changed it into some- 
thing resembling a flattened 
strawberry Since flattened straw- 
bernes are rather tough to breath 
through, I mistakenly thought my 

nose was destroyed. I immedi- 
ately sought the medical atten- 
tion of my mother by rolling 
around on the floor and moaning 
loudly My mother, who wasn't 
familiar with the first law 
of thermodynamics ei- 
ther, didn't realize that 
the energy that was once 
my nose was still alive and 
■albeit, unrecog- 
izable. After 

ence, did everything he could to 
avoid my dad. He ricocheted off 
walls, furniture, and appliances. 
By the time my dad finally caught 
Paulie, everything was pretty ran- 
dom. Debris was everywhere, 
and the house was a shambles. 

Once I learned these laws of 
physics, they seemed almost too 
obvious. But if it weren't for great 
thinkers like Newton and Ein- 
stein, who originally identified 
phenomena and codified them 
into succinct, understandable, 
scientific rules, I would still be liv- 
ing in ignorance. 

It was rumored that after Ein- 
stein became famous for his the- 
ories he decided to cash in on 
his growing popularity and, like 
Newton, start his own cookie 
business. It's said that he cre- 
ated a fortune cookie modeled 
after Newton's fig variety. En- 
closed in the gooey middle of 
each cookie was a little piece 
of paper, and written on it 
was a science fact like E = 
mc^. Needless to say, Fig 
Einsteins failed. DO 

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